US Education Secretary Urged to Quit Over 'Ugly' NSBA Letter Labelling Parents 'Domestic Terrorists'
The US National School Boards Association (NSBA) claimed in a letter, which it has since apologised for, that some rhetorical clashes between school boards and parents over the introduction of critical race theory in classrooms and COVID-19-related mandates could be classified as a "form of domestic terrorism."
US Education Secretary Miguel Cardona is facing calls to resign after a newly-released email appeared to indicate he had solicited last year’s controversial letter
from the National School Boards Association, which compared parents protesting at school board meetings to “domestic terrorists.”
NSBA Secretary-Treasurer Kristi Swett wrote in an email
dated 5 October and obtained by Parents Defending Education through a Freedom of Information Act request that NSBA then-interim CEO Chip Slaven “told the officers he was writing a letter to provide information to the White House, from a request by Secretary Cardona.”
“Should this allegation be true, it would reveal that this administration’s pretextual war on parents came from the highest levels… If Secretary Cardona was truly involved in this ugly episode, it is a significant breach of public trust, and he should be held accountable,” Nicole Neily, president of Parents Defending Education, was cited by Fox News as saying.
Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, went on Twitter to slam as “stunning” the revelation
that the “source” of the letter urging Joe Biden’s administration to use the Patriot Act to target parents as “domestic terrorists” was the White House itself.
Rep. Mike Johnson, R-La., similarly tweeted his amazement over how the idea for the controversial NSBA letter had purportedly evolved.
Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla. HHand Rep. Jim Banks, R-Ind. tweeted that now that the “truth” had come out, “woke” Cardona should resign.
The NSBA's letter to the White House on 29 September last year, which it issued a mea culpa over in October, called for federal action to address hostilities toward school boards as possible acts of "domestic terrorism" and suggested using the Patriot Act against parents who were concerned about COVID-19 measures such as mask-wearing mandates and imposition critical race theory in classrooms.
12 November 2021, 10:49 GMT
President Biden’s Department of Justice had supposedly based its subsequent memo, dated 4 October, on the NSBA letter, as it directed the FBI and US attorney's offices to investigate "threats of violence" at school board meetings to address what was branded a "disturbing trend" of “harassment” of school officials.
Previous emails cited by Fox News in November 2021 showed that the NSBA appeared to have coordinated with the White House and other US government agencies before penning the now controversial letter.
In response to the seemingly damning email, a Department of Education spokesperson denied that Cardona “solicited” the NSBA letter.
"While the Secretary did not solicit a letter from NSBA, to understand the views and concerns of stakeholders, the Department routinely engages with students, teachers, parents, district leaders and education associations," the spokesperson was quoted by Fox News as saying.