An association representing more than 90,000 school board members across the U.S. called on the federal government to provide additional support as school boards grapple with misinformation and anger leading to a rising number of threats.
In a letter dated on Wednesday and addressed to President BidenJoe BidenHow 'Buy American', other pro-US policies can help advocates pass ambitious climate policies Overnight Defense & National Security — Presented by Raytheon Technologies — Biden backtracks on Taiwan Photos of the Week: Manchin protestor, Paris Hilton and a mirror room MORE, the National School Boards Association said “immediate assistance” was needed for teachers, students and school board members who have seen threats stemming from mask mandates and misinformation over critical race theory.
“Coupled with attacks against school board members and educators for approving policies for masks to protect the health and safety of students and school employees, many public school officials are also facing physical threats because of propaganda purporting the false inclusion of critical race theory within classroom instruction and curricula,” NSBA President Viola Garcia and NSBA interim Executive Director and CEO Chip Slaven said in their letter to Biden.
“This propaganda continues despite the fact that critical race theory is not taught in public schools and remains a complex law school and graduate school subject well beyond the scope of a K-12 class.”
The two noted that while some law enforcement agencies were working with schools to combat threats, law enforcement in some communities needed extra help in monitoring threat levels. The association is specifically asking for additional resources from several federal agencies which include the FBI, U.S. Secret Service, Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Postal Inspection Service and Department of Justice.
Mask mandates in school districts and critical race theory have been considered conservative hot-button issues. Several Republican governors in states like Texas and Florida have attempted to bar schools from requiring facial coverings, asserting that that decision should be left to parents instead.
Educators have argued that the COVID-19 protocols are needed to curb further spread of the virus, however.
Last month, Republican lawmakers introduced legislation aimed at prohibiting government funding toward teaching critical race theory. The decades-old academic theory examines the intersection of the U.S. history, race and the racist structures that contributed and continue to continue to contribute to the country’s institutions and structures. The academic theory is mostly confined to higher educational institutions.
When asked whether the president had received the letter and was considering offering federal support, White House Press Secretary Jen PsakiJen PsakiBiden injects new momentum into filibuster fight White House: Biden drove by border on 2008 campaign trip Red Cross says Afghan humanitarian crisis too big for aid groups to handle alone MORE said that “we take the security of public servants and elected officials across the country very seriously” and called the threats “horrible.”
“Obviously, there are going to be different law enforcement authorities that will be related to each community and — where this is happening, so we’d certainly refer you to them about any specific threats. And we’d encourage individuals to report any threats they face to local and state law enforcement agencies. And we’re continuing to explore what more can be done from across the administration,” Psaki said on Thursday.
“But again, a lot of this will be local law enforcement and how they can help ensure these school board members feel protected,” she added.