When the National School Boards Association (NSBA) wrote to President Biden on September 29, they never expected it would blow up in their face. But given that the letter called on the federal government to investigate parents as "domestic terrorists" for speaking out at school board meetings, it's worth asking: what did they think would happen? Maybe they believed Washington's heavy jackboots would stamp out the last dying embers of the flame of liberty as they rode off into the sunset of their progressive utopia.
But that's not what happened. When, a mere six days after the letter, Attorney General Merrick Garland announced that the Department of Justice would investigate parents as domestic terrorists, moms and dads were outraged. "The enemy has no chill," warned Florida mom Quisha King during one of the education panels at FRC's Pray Vote Stand Summit. "You're at home trying to make peanut butter sandwiches for your kids, and the FBI could be knocking at your door because you might have said the wrong thing at a school board meeting."
It's no surprise that parents took offense at the prospect of the FBI investigating them as domestic terrorists. The NSBA probably expected that when they penned the letter. But in the past week, Parents Defending Education has unearthed powerful new opponents of the NSBA letter: school boards. "As of October 16," they wrote, state school board associations in "18 states have distanced themselves from the NSBA's letter: Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and Wyoming."
Most of the state associations issued statements in response to an inquiry from Parents Defending Education saying that they were not consulted about the letter or that they disapproved of its content. Virginia had already issued a statement to that effect on October 6. On October 4, Louisiana went further, declaring that it had "not yet paid membership dues" and would "reevaluate the benefits of continued membership in the NSBA." But the Pennsylvania School Boards Association went further, voting unanimously on Thursday to withdraw from the NSBA.
"The most recent national controversy surrounding a letter to President Biden suggesting that some parents should be considered domestic terrorists was the final straw," they wrote. "Attempting to solve the problems with a call for federal intervention is not the place to begin, nor a model for promoting greater civility and respect for the democratic process."
The Pennsylvania School Boards Association's decision to disassociate from the national organization is likely due in part to the letter's pitiful compilation of instances, most of which were simply raised voices or strong language. The only incident in which any parent was actually arrested was when the Loudoun County School Board shut down the public comment period hours ahead of time to prevent a father from disclosing how they had covered up his daughter's rape by a boy wearing a skirt in the girl's bathroom.
It's time that parents stand up against this insanity. Educating children and keeping them safe should not be partisan activities. The NSBA has gotten its knuckles rapped for its grotesque attack on parents but more action is needed. No school board association, at the state or local level, should maintain its affiliation with an organization that has proven itself deaf to the concerns of parents. Parents and other concerned citizens should find out if their local community or state association is a member of the NSBA (sample letter here), and if so demand an end to that relationship, and they should demand that the NSBA be defunded and ineligible for taxpayer dollars.