WASHINGTON—The Heritage Foundation’s top scholars on critical race theory spoke out Tuesday after U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland ordered federal authorities to assess vague, unspecified threats against public schools and school board members.
These actions came just five days after the National School Boards Association, a left-wing special interest group, sent President Joe Biden a hyperbolic letter demanding that he use the PATRIOT Act against critical parents attending the board meetings.
Mike Gonzalez, senior fellow in Heritage’s Allison Center for Foreign Policy and author of “BLM: The Making of the New Marxist Revolution,” and Jonathan Butcher, Heritage’s Will Skillman fellow in education, released the following statement:
“The Heritage Foundation condemns in the strongest possible terms the U.S. Justice Department’s decision to intimidate parents attending school board meetings to advocate on behalf of their children and to push back against poisonous concepts like critical race theory being forced on them in the classroom.
“A school board’s responsibility is to represent the families in its district, and parents and voters should be active participants in board members’ decision-making processes—on everything from curricula to COVID mandates. Biden administration officials should praise Americans for their civic participation and sense of duty, not treat them as a threat because they hold different views than radical bureaucrats.
“This is nothing less than an attempt to chill debate using the muscle of an increasingly politicized federal law enforcement apparatus. Americans’ rights to seek redress against their leaders, including members of their local school boards, must be guarded, no matter how many vague and intimidating memos this administration chooses to craft.
“Neither Garland nor the Justice Department has asserted a violation of a federal criminal law, but are invoking federal law enforcement anyway. Parental participation in school board meetings during periods of public comment—which school boards in Indiana, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Virginia, to name a few, have suspended in recent months—does not violate provisions related to terrorist activities, and it is laughable for this administration to think they do.
“School board members should not presume to operate without consent from the governed. American parents are now demanding that school boards listen to their views. Parents’ involvement in their communities is a sign that our decentralized system of governance is functioning as our Founders intended. The Biden administration has no place interfering in these local issues.”
Read more: Attorney General Garland Abuses Power He Doesn’t Have to Threaten Parents, The Daily Signal