New Hampshire School Boards Association Leaves National Organization Over Parent Controversy
New Hampshire School Boards Association Leaves National Organization Over Parent Controversy

By Christopher Burroughs

The New Hampshire School Boards Association (NHSBA) announced Thursday that it has withdrawn from the national organization following the group’s efforts to target parents.

The National School Board Association (NSBA) recently sent a letter to the Biden administration’s Department of Justice that described the actions of parents protesting policies such as critical race theory or COVID-19 rules as the equivalence of “domestic terrorism.”

“This email is to inform you that NHSBA [the New Hampshire School Board Association] has decided to withdraw its membership from the National School Boards Association, effective immediately,” NHSBA Executive Director Barrett Christina wrote. “NSBA’s recent actions have made our continued membership untenable.

The NSBA wrote Sept. 29 (pdf), “America’s public schools and its education leaders are under an immediate threat.”

The letter added, “As these acts of malice, violence, and threats against public school officials have increased, the classification of these heinous actions could be the equivalent to a form of domestic terrorism and hate crimes.”

Following the NSBA’s letter, Attorney General Merrick Garland sent a memorandum to the Federal Bureau of Investigations to direct investigators to address the “disturbing spike” in harassment involving school board members by parents.

The controversy led lawmakers in Washington to discuss the matter with Garland this week. Republicans on the Judiciary Committee blasted the attorney general after he failed to rescind the letter or apologize regarding the matter.

“Thank God you’re not on the Supreme Court,” Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) told Garland. “You should resign in disgrace.”

The NSBA has since apologized for its letter.

“On behalf of the NSBA, we regret and apologize for the letter. To be clear, the safety of school board members, other public school officials and educators, and students is our top priority, and there remains important work to be done on this issue,” the NSBA wrote last Friday.

“However, there was no justification for some of the language included in the letter. We should have had a better process in place to allow for some consultation on a communication of this significance,” the letter added.

Despite the apology, the damage has already had negative consequences nationwide.

In addition to New Hampshire, state school board associations in Ohio, Missouri, Louisiana, and Pennsylvania have already withdrawn from the NSBA.

Three additional states, Alabama, Florida, and Kentucky, have also announced they are considering a departure from the national organization.

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