Hennen: The schools belong to the parents who fund them. Don't be intimidated into silence, be bold!
Hennen writes, "What's being taught to your children should matter to you. Get involved. Stand up for what you believe in."
The National School Board Association, the Biden administration and Attorney General Merrick Garland got caught in a dangerous game of trying to chill parental involvement before school boards. The National School Board Association had to apologize. The attorney general is taking heat in Congress.
In case you missed all this, the National School Board Association sent a letter this month to President Joe Biden asking for help from the federal government with threats, harassment and violence targeting school officials, and actually said some of the actions could be classified as "domestic terrorism." That letter prompted Attorney General Merrick Garland to issue a memo asking the FBI and U.S. Attorneys to strategize on how to respond to "threats" directed at school officials from parents. Some members of Congress have called that "chilling."
Would you like an example of the chilling effect from this political game? A Montana U.S. attorney wrote to Montana's attorney general, county attorneys and sheriffs suggesting ways parents could be prosecuted for behavior directed at school board members to include: “Parents could be prosecuted for repeated telephone calls.” Really? I'd say that's the textbook example of how dangerous this effort has become.
Now, the National School Board Association is apologizing for their letter, saying there was no justification for some of the language included in the letter. "We should have had a better process in place to allow for consultation on the communication of this significance," they wrote.
The School Board Association went on to say, “We regret and apologize for the letter." But the group didn't pull back its request for federal help in dealing with "threats."
This is all politics and it has nothing to do with our laws. You can be sure the association was asked by someone from team Biden to send that letter so they could ask the Justice Department to send out a memo. They got caught.
The saga has prompted three state school board associations to bail. The Ohio, Missouri and Pennsylvania school board associations terminated their national membership because there was no consultation with them before asking the FBI to investigate parents. The North Dakota School Boards Association wasn't consulted either. We asked Executive Director Alexis Baxley if they planned to follow suit. No such luck. Since they have already paid their annual dues, they've opted to continue membership while trying to "fix" the organization. Make no mistake. The National School Board Association, and the Biden administration, fear parents engaging in the effort to know more about what their children are being taught. This is designed to scare you into staying home. It would be better for the North Dakota School Board Association to be bold!
Every parent should be bold! Your tax dollars fund public schools. What's being taught to your children should matter to you. Get involved. Stand up for what you believe in. The time for timidness has long since passed. Engage respectfully but with the passion these times require. And don't ever apologize for it.
Scott Hennen hosts the statewide radio program “What’s On Your Mind?” On AM 1100 “The Flag”, KFYR AM 550, AM 1090 KTGO “The Flag” and AM 1460 KLTC. Email him at ScottH@FlagFamily.com
This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Forum's editorial board nor Forum ownership.