A newly-unearthed memo from the Department of Justice (DOJ) shows just how far the agency went to try to force police to investigate so-called “threats” against school boards after Attorney General Merrick Garland equated such activity to terrorism in 2021.
As reported by Just The News, the memo ordered U.S. Attorneys across the country to hold meetings with local law enforcement and FBI representatives on the matter, and to report back to Washington after each meeting. The Attorneys were ordered to provide additional information in their reports, including the identities of each law enforcement agencies that participated in their meetings.
The memo, dated October 20th, 2021, was released as the result of a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request by the watchdog group Protect the Public’s Trust. The directive came after Garland controversially ordered federal law enforcement to address what he called a “disturbing spike” in protests against school boards and school administrators. The protests in question were almost entirely peaceful, and consisted of parents who were frustrated with the schools’ handlings of Chinese Coronavirus lockdowns, and the teaching of controversial subject matter such as transgenderism and Critical Race Theory, among other concerns.
“[They] sent the memo to all the US Attorney’s offices across the country and ordered them to—it does say on the memo that its guidance on implementing the Attorney General’s memorandum—but there are required actions that…they are required to convene a meeting within the next few weeks,” said Michael Chamberlin, Director of Protecting the Public’s Trust, following the release of the memo.
“The memo was sent out on October 20 of 2021 and they were supposed to have the meeting by November 3 and they were supposed to, they were required to report back,” Chamberlin continued. “And to verify that they had the meeting and list details…such as the local officials who attended. So this was not something that was just, you know, not something that they didn’t believe was important. It doesn’t it doesn’t look like they put a lot of effort and resources into enforcing the memo.”
The memo, in addition to its orders to each U.S. Attorney’s Office (USAO) to organize such meetings, also gave the Attorneys discussion topics for the meetings, including reviews of local, state, or federal laws that could be used to target the DOJ’s political opponents, as well as discussions about “training needs” for local police.
Garland’s original memo followed a demand by the National School Boards Association (NSBA) in a letter sent to the agency on September 29th, 2021, in which the NSBA demanded that the DOJ recognize such anti-school board protests as “domestic terrorists.” Garland’s initial decision to do so resulted in heavy backlash, with additional controversy generated once the NSBA’s letter was made public. Both Garland and the NSBA eventually walked back their original descriptions of the protests as “terrorism.”