Critical Race Theory isn’t taught in public K-12 schools. Unfortunately, far-right activists have told parents otherwise, and school boards are facing threats from parents who believe their kids are learning upsetting facts. Now, federal law enforcement is having to take action to protect teachers and school staff, and Representative Josh Hawley (R-MO) isn’t happy about it.
This stems from a letter (PDF) from the National School Board Association. They’ve asked for help as teachers, board members, and school staff across the country face threats and harassment from parents who are angry over mask policies and the critical race theory (CRT) they wrongly believe is being taught in classrooms.
Journalist Christopher Rufo, who the New Yorker credits with starting the anti-CRT frenzy, shared on Twitter a letter from Attorney General Merrick Garland, which reads in part:
While spirited debate about policy matters is protected under our Constitution, that protection does not extend to threats of violence or efforts to intimidate individuals based on their views…The Department takes these incidents seriously and is committed to using its authority and resources to discourage these threats, identify them when they occur, and prosecute them when appropriate.
Rufo added his own thoughts, describing the letter as Garland “instruct[ing] the FBI to mobilize against parents who oppose critical race theory in public schools” and as an effort to classify protests as domestic terrorism.
Hawley boosted that, also editorializing to claim that President Joe Biden is “deploying the FBI against parents who have concerns” and warning of a “remarkable and dangerous abuse of power.”
Now Joe Biden is deploying the FBI against parents who have concerns about Critical Race Theory being taught to their children. This is a remarkable and dangerous abuse of power https://t.co/dX4HOVBVuS
— Josh Hawley (@HawleyMO) October 5, 2021
Each of the letters cited is clearly about violent threats, harassment, and intimidation — not protests, disagreement, or “concerns.” Hawley is being called out on Twitter for his misrepresentation of the entire situation.
“Parents who have concerns” is a weird way of describing adults who threaten, sometimes with physical violence, others at school board meetings.
— Evariste (@Evar_Galois) October 5, 2021
I say again, they are investigating "Threats of Violence and efforts to intimidate." if y'all weren't getting violent about 'Critical Race Theory' (and so many other things…) this wouldn't be happening. Please do the world a favor and resign into obscurity. 2/2
— (((Lirleni Hankeshe))) 🖋️✒️📓🏳️🌈 (@Lirleni) October 5, 2021
As previously reported, school board meetings to settle matters like mask policies have, in recent months, been plagued with outrageous outbursts, and physically violent threats, including at least two incidents caught on video of individuals threatening to stalk or harass board members or others at their homes.
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Steph Bazzle reports on social issues and religion for Hill Reporter. She focuses on stories that speak to everyone's right to practice what they believe in and receive the support of their communities and government officials. You can reach her at Steph@HillReporter.com