House Republican leadership is demanding that the Department of Justice halt its plans to investigate parents who attend school board meetings in the wake of a Washington Free Beacon report on the probe's origins.
In a Tuesday letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R., Calif.) said it was "alarming" to learn the Biden administration's probe of parents at school board meetings was based on a single letter from the National School Boards Association that compared parents to domestic terrorists. The NSBA has since retracted the letter after the Free Beacon reported on emails showing the letter came at the direction of White House officials, who asked it to list examples of parents who had engaged in violence at local school board meetings across the country.
"It was alarming to hear that the Department was moved to target parents by a single letter, especially a letter that the Administration had a hand in molding," McCarthy wrote in the letter, cosigned by Judiciary Committee ranking member Jim Jordan (Ohio) and Education and Labor Committee ranking member Virginia Foxx (N.C.). "We ask now: If the NSBA can no longer stand by its letter, how can the Department of Justice proceed with its actions spurred by that same letter?"
The letter calls on Garland to retract his Oct. 4 memo forming a task force to investigate parents, as well as dissolve any plans formed since it was sent.
"The Biden administration also owes every parent in America an apology, and a clear commitment to end this senseless harassment, intimidation, and targeting of parents," the letter states.
The Free Beacon report revealed emails between the White House and NSBA ahead of the Sept. 29 letter that Garland said was the genesis of his task force. The NSBA now says there was "no justification" for its letter and has pledged to conduct a formal review of the "proceedings leading to the letter."
The Biden administration is closely tied to the NSBA. The Department of Education announced on Oct. 13 that Viola Garcia, NSBA's president, was given a seat on the National Assessment Governing Board, which tracks student progress around the country. Garcia was the White House's point of contact at NSBA ahead of the now-infamous Sept. 29 letter detailing how parents were threatening school officials, the emails show.
The Republican members said parents concerned about their child's education should be "celebrated and admired" rather than treated like criminals.
"We believe, like the majority of Americans, that every parent has a right to be involved in their child’s education," the letter states. "Second, parents who are concerned about material and curriculums in classrooms should be celebrated and admired, not made to feel like villains for simply asking basic questions regarding curriculums in their local schools."