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Parents Sue AG Garland for Violating Free Speech Rights with FBI School-Board Memo


A federal civil rights lawsuit was filed Tuesday on behalf of a coalition of parents against Attorney General Merrick Garland, claiming that his recent memo directing the FBI to investigate and potentially prosecute “threats” leveled by parents against school board members is intended to chill speech.


Judeo-Christian public interest law firm American Freedom Law Center (AFLC) brought the suit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia on behalf of parents from Saline, Mich., and Loudoun County, Va. Both towns have developed reputations as hot spots for school board fights over equity and inclusion initiatives and critical race theory.


“The AG Policy is a direct threat and warning to parents and private citizens across the United States, including Plaintiffs, that the Department of Justice and its FBI will be investigating you and monitoring what you say at these school board meetings so be careful about what you say and how you say it, thereby chilling such expression,” the legal filing states.


The lawsuit claims that the memo authorizes unconstitutional federal intervention in local affairs. In the filing, the AFLC attorneys point out that the unruly behavior of parents at some school board meetings, even yelling or crude language, is still protected speech under the Constitution and questions what right the federal government has to involve itself in cases where parents’ speech crosses the line into threats of violence.


“It fails to address the Department of Justice’s lack of jurisdiction to intrude on interactions between parents and local school boards in the absence of any federal crime, and it fails to account for the fact that the First Amendment protects political dissent—even dissent that rises to the level of intimidation or harassment,” the lawsuit adds.


Per the document, the group of concerned parents are requesting a court order to cancel Garland’s policy, which instructs the FBI to collaborate with local, state, and federal law enforcement to investigate parents who have threatened school administrators.


The Department of Justice issued its memo in response to a letter from the National School Board Association, which claims to represent school board members nationwide, urging the Biden administration to consider whether confrontations by outraged parents qualify as domestic terrorism under the Patriot Act.


The NSBA failed to consult at least 13 state school board organizations before requesting federal intervention. Many of these state chapters have argued that the national headquarters overstepped its bounds and infringed upon the constitutional authority of local school boards to manage the public-school systems in their states, the nonprofit Parents Defending Education (PDE) reported.


Moreover, the vast majority of incidents cited in the NSBA letter to justify federal meddling did not involve violent threats. Sixteen out of 24 cited incidents consisted of tense verbal exchanges and disruption between parents and school-board members that did not devolve into threats of physical violence.


AG Merrick Garland to testify before House Judiciary Committee


Source: National Review and New York Post

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