INDIANA – Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita today commended a national school board group for backing down from inflammatory language it used to prod the Biden administration into threatening parents’ First Amendment rights.
Pledging to continue the fight against the Biden administration’s intimidation tactics, Attorney General Rokita — who organized a 17-state coalition of similarly concerned colleagues — said an apology from the National School Boards Association (NSBA) shows that taking a strong stand for liberty produces real results.
He thanked the 16 other state attorneys general for their involvement in the cause.
“We are shining a light on injustices perpetrated against parents of schoolchildren, and it’s making a real difference,” Attorney General Rokita said. “We will continue to defend the rights of parents to stay closely involved with their children’s education and speak their minds to public school officials.”
On Oct. 18, Attorney General Rokita composed and sent a letter — also signed by the 16 other state attorneys general — to President Joe Biden and U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland. The letter demanded that the Biden administration cease making threats against parents such as those contained in an Oct. 4 memo from the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), which called for the FBI and other law enforcement to keep a close eye on parents nationwide to address supposed “threats against school administrators, board members, teachers, and staff.”
The DOJ memo echoed an NSBA letter sent Sept. 29 to the Biden administration lamenting the rise of parents pushing back against divisive ideologies, including critical race theory (CRT). The NSBA letter raised the specter of local protests rising to the level of “domestic terrorism.”
Just four days after Attorney General Rokita and the other attorneys general issued their demands, NSBA leaders confessed in a memo to its members that there was “no justification” for the organization’s incendiary language.
But, Attorney General Rokita noted, the Biden administration still has not apologized for its own threats against parents.
“Most Hoosier educators are no doubt as appalled as anyone by Joe Biden’s anti-parent bias,” Attorney General Rokita said. “Now is a time for Hoosiers to unite.”
Local community leaders can promote such unity, he added.
“Indiana school boards, as well as the Indiana Department of Education, should denounce the DOJ memo,” Attorney General Rokita said. “Sheriffs’ departments and other police agencies should consider declining any DOJ meetings aimed at repressing parental participation. And everyone involved should work together to facilitate free speech by protecting all participants at school board meetings.”
Further, both the NSBA and the Biden administration must take steps to correct their mistakes, Attorney General Rokita said.
“Parents don’t just have ‘a’ role in their children’s education,” he said. “They have the first and primary role. To properly serve our communities, leaders at all levels of government must recognize this basic truth. My own office will be taking further actions to this end.”