In a letter to President Biden released this morning, the National School Boards Association (NSBA) has asked for federal assistance to stop threats and acts of violence against public schoolchildren, public school board members, and other public school district officials and educators.

“America’s public schools and its education leaders are under an immediate threat,” reads the letter signed by NSBA President Viola M. Garcia and NSBA interim Executive Director and CEO Chip Slaven. “The National School Boards Association respectfully asks for federal law enforcement and other assistance to deal with the growing number of threats of violence and acts of intimidation occurring across the nation.”

The letter asks the federal government to “investigate, intercept, and prevent the current threats and acts of violence against public school officials through existing statutes, executive authority, interagency and intergovernmental task forces, and other extraordinary measures to ensure the safety of our children and educators, to protect interstate commerce, and to preserve public school infrastructure and campuses.”

The letter cites more than twenty instances of threats, harassment, disruption, and acts of intimidation that have transpired during school board meetings and that are targeted at school officials. While local and state law enforcement agencies have worked hard to protect public school officials and restore order, some jurisdictions need assistance, especially around monitoring threat levels. To prevent further harm, NSBA asks that a joint effort be undertaken among federal law enforcement agencies, state and local law enforcement, and public school officials to focus on threats made during public school board meetings, via documented threats transmitted through the U.S. Postal Service, across social media and other online platforms, and around personal properties.

Specifically, NSBA asks that the U.S. Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of Investigation, U.S. Department of Homeland Security, and the U.S. Secret Service and its National Threat Assessment Center focus their expertise and resources on the level of risk to public schoolchildren, educators, board members, facilities, and campuses. NSBA also requests that the U.S. Postal Inspection Service intervene against threatening letters and cyberbullying attacks that have been transmitted to students, school board members, district administrators, and other educators.

The letter underscores that local school board members want to hear from their communities on important issues and it acknowledges that such feedback is at the heart of good school board governance and promotion of free speech. It also notes, however, that there “must be safeguards in place to protect public schools and dedicated education leaders as they do their jobs.”

“As the threats grow and news of extremist hate organizations showing up at school board meetings is being reported, this is a critical time for a proactive approach to deal with this difficult issue,” the letter argues.

The letter comes of the heels of a joint statement issued last week by NSBA and AASA, The School Superintendents Association, calling for an end to threats and violence around safe school opening decisions.

Read NSBA’s complete letter to President Biden at
https://nsba.org/-/media/NSBA/File/nsba-letter-to-president-biden-concerning-threats-to-public-schools-and-school-board-members-92921.pdf.

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2020 State of the Association

Full of challenge and change, 2020 was like no other year. NSBA's State of the Association provides a snapshot of the association's advocacy and member services work as well as our ongoing transformation.