Attorney General Merrick Garland has ordered the Department of Justice and the FBI to investigate a supposed spike in “harassment, intimidation, and threats of violence” against school administrators.
In a memo published on Monday, Garland directed U.S. attorneys and the FBI to work with local officials to identify and stop threats directed at school administrators. In recent months, parents groups have stood up against efforts by school boards and teachers’ unions across the country to push transgender identity and critical race theory indoctrination onto school children.
Critical race theory contends that the United States and its traditions were founded in white supremacy, and argues that white supremacism continues to permeate its institutions. The New York Times’ 1619 Project, which has appeared in some school curricula, claims that the true founding of America dates back to 1619, with the arrival of the first slave ship to the country.
Critical race theory, alongside transgender education and sexually explicit content, has sparked a massive backlash among parents who have called for schools to provide them with transparency and oversight over the subjects being taught to students. The effort by parents to push back against progressive ideology in schools has escalated into rows that have seen police called by school administrators to evict and even arrest protesting parents.
“In recent months, there has been a disturbing spike in harassment, intimidation, and threats of violence against school administrators, board members, teachers, and staff who participate in the vital work of running our nation’s public schools,” Garland wrote in the memo without citing specific examples. “While spirited debate about policy matters is protected under our Constitution, the protection does not extend to threats of violence or efforts to intimidate individuals based on their views.”
“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 do their work without fear for their safety,” he continued.
Garland stated that federal officials should work with local and state officials to create plans to “discourage” threats and prosecute violators.
“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,” Garland added, noting that the Justice Department will announce a plan to combat the threats “in the coming days.”
Rebel News reported in June that a Virginia school district fired a physical education teacher named Byron Cross, who publicly refused to recognise “transgender identity.”
More recently, polling data has shown that most parents, including Latinos and Asians, explicitly oppose teaching critical race theory in classrooms.