By Corinne Murdock |
Arizona parents promptly pushed back against the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) announcement Monday that the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and U.S. Attorney’s Offices would investigate the trend of protests against school boards and other staff. The DOJ indicated that it would create a task force to accomplish this goal.
In a memorandum, Garland cited a “disturbing spike in harassment, intimidation, and threats of violence” against public school staff nationwide. Garland explained that the FBI and law enforcement leaders would brainstorm reporting mechanisms and strategies to address violence, threats of violence, harassment, intimidation against public school staff. Nowhere in either the announcement or letter did the DOJ or Garland call those responsible for the purported spike in harassment, intimidation, and threats, “domestic terrorists.”
“Threats against public servants are not only illegal, they run counter to our nation’s core values. Those who dedicate their time and energy to ensuring that our children receive a proper education in a safe environment deserve to be able to work without fear for their safety,” wrote Garland. “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.”
A coalition of moms, West Valley Parents Uniting, said it was hypocritical for Attorney General Merrick Garland and the Biden Administration to highlight parents as a national threat while largely ignoring the rising rates of violent crime, human trafficking, and migrant encounters. Founders Heather Rooks and Devon Updegraff-Day submitted a joint statement to AZ Free News in response to the DOJ announcement.
“Administrators, school board members, and teachers are not the victims. The children are the victims! They have always been the victims; our children have been used as pawns for twisted political games for decades and parents have finally had enough […] The Biden Administration can issue warnings to parents and threaten legal recourse all they want; parents will never be made silent! Parents have the right and will always have the right to speak out against ANYTHING they deem inappropriate or detrimental to their child’s well-being; that is what being a parent is all about. The Biden Administration needs to get their tail out from between their legs and fight against real threats in America and stop trying to create distractions. Criminal conduct behavior is widespread, but one of the few places where it is not occurring is at school board meetings!”
While some issued formal statements, others opted to issue a prompt response on Twitter.
Pam Kirby, Republican Party of Arizona and Latinos for Trump Advisory Board Member, promised to continue rallying at school board meetings.
Another user accused the DOJ of pandering to teachers’ unions.
“Wow, all it took was one poorly drafted complaint letter from a teachers union, and DOJ responds. Without evidence. Just repeats what it has been told. We [see] who you work for.”
Yet another user claimed it was hypocritical of Democrats to crack down on parents at school board meetings but condone the behavior of illegal immigrants and activists who chased and filmed Senator Kyrsten Sinema into a bathroom.
“While leftists in office applaud those that chased, harassed [and] recorded a female elected official in a bathroom, they call parents using the normal channels of public meetings ‘radical extremists’ and accuse them of ‘infiltrating’ open meetings.”
The Biden Administration’s DOJ hasn’t issued any similar statements to other, more organized movements like the local Antifa-aligned groups, whose members have exhibited repeat patterns of actively threatening and engaging in violence.
Opposition to the DOJ’s announcement even came from some school officials. One vocal advocate for affording full transparency to parents, Litchfield Elementary School District (LESD) Board Member Jeremy Hoenack, told AZ Free News that he was disappointed with the DOJ’s response.
“It’s highly disturbing that the President’s Administration seems to think that parents don’t count,” said Hoenack.
Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco defended the DOJ’s initiative before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday. The committee hearing itself wasn’t focused on the DOJ announcement, but Senator Josh Hawley (R-MO) insisted that Monaco answer for it.