Dissident parents are persecuted by school boards, which serve as bastions of local democracy.
American parents are mobilizing to oppose the teaching of racist critical race theories in their children's schools. Merrick Garland, previously seen as a moderate, replied by requesting that the FBI treat them as domestic terrorists.
Since is fitting for the Biden administration, this excessive authoritarianism is accompanied by the odor of corruption, as it turns out that Garland's son-in-law sells educational materials on CRT.
Garland should retire due to his self-dealing and thuggery. However, that is not the worst thing that has occurred. As bad as the Biden administration's toxic combination of bribery and tyranny is, it can be addressed by removing the administration — something that, polls indicate, is eminently possible.
The larger issue is that school boards throughout America appear to be becoming increasingly authoritarian in their own right. Rather than serving as bastions of small-scale representative democracy, boards appear to regard themselves as above voter and parent accountability.
After all, it was the National School Boards Association that encouraged the administration to investigate anti-CRT parents as "domestic terrorists," directly citing the Patriot Act in its letter.
The assertion of "threats" is a well-worn tactic. Some readers may recall a story from five years ago in Brooklyn about a father being detained for complaining to a teacher. The teacher had refused to let his son use the restroom and left him sitting in his own feces for hours. When the father arrived to complain, unsurprisingly, the teacher stated that she felt "threatened"; the father was arrested, prosecuted, and placed under an order of protection.
The enigmatic phrase "I feel threatened" is now being used by bureaucrats to absolve themselves of responsibility for their own wrongdoing. That is precisely what the NSBA has done, on a wider scale, in response to widespread parental frustration with curricula that teach white and Asian children they are innately racist, while black students are perpetual victims.
The standard response: How dare you, peasant, criticize us!
In Shakopee, Minn., the superintendent reported a single mother to her job for criticizing the board chairwoman's handling of testimony from the mother of a special-needs kid at a hearing on Facebook. The complaint resulted in her suspension and possibly termination, prompting Minnesota state Rep. Erik Mortenson to accuse Kristi Peterson, the chairwoman, of "abuse of power" and "straight-up bullying."
The justification for public education is that it has a civilizing effect. I'm intrigued by its leaders' behavior.
And, as I previously noted in these pages, teachers and administrators in Loudoun County, Virginia, maintained a mailing list dedicated to reprimanding parents who objected to their system's dedication to CRT. One of them, school board member Beth Barts, is now being investigated by a special prosecutor for possible misconduct. Barts is charged with directing members of her group to target, harass, and even hack parents who oppose CRT instruction.
The intimidation effort does not appear to be working: Groups representing 427,000 parents replied angrily to the NSBA letter: "The NSBA uses a small number of minor events to imply that parents who criticize and oppose school board decisions are committing, or may commit, 'domestic terrorism and hate crimes.'
NSBA even makes reference to the Patriot Act. Associating legitimate protest with terrorism and violence demonstrates both your disrespect for parents and your inability to comprehend and hear parents' earnest pleas for their children."
However, it is an embarrassment that such a campaign exists at all and that our public schools are controlled by individuals who believe such a response to criticism is necessary or suitable.
While some Americans focus on national issues, it's evident that individuals need to pay a lot more attention on a local level. Do you wish to make a difference? Candidate for the school board.