Minnesota Rep. Jim Hagedorn (R-MN-01) called Attorney General Merrick Garland’s memo regarding law enforcement responses to alleged harassment toward public education officials an “attempt to intimidate.”
Hagedorn said, “Parents should always be allowed to openly express their opinions and concerns when it comes to their children.”
AG Garland’s memo is an attempt by the Biden Administration to intimidate and silence parents at school board meetings. Parents should always be allowed to openly express their opinions and concerns when it comes to their children! https://t.co/UnF5yhtgcH
— Congressman Jim Hagedorn (@RepHagedorn) October 6, 2021
The memo from Garland expressed concern regarding the behavior of parents at school board meetings.
The memo reads, “In recent months, there has been a disturbing spike in harassment, intimidation, and threats of violence against school administrators, board members, teachers, and staff who participate in the vital work of running our nation’s public schools.”
Garland went on to say, “While spirited debate about policy matters is protected under our Constitution, that protection does not extend to threats of violence or efforts to intimidate individuals based on their views.”
The memo says the department will announce “measures” to address the “criminal conduct” towards school officials.
The memo reads, “The Department takes these incidents seriously and is committed to using its authority and resources to discourage these threats, identify them when they occur, and prosecute them when appropriate. In the coming days, the Department will announce a series of measures designed to address the rise in criminal conduct directed toward school personnel.”
The memo has drawn criticism from many lawmakers, including Montana Representative Matt Rosendale (R-MT-01), calling it the “weaponization of the DOJ.”
Rosendale tweeted, “This is yet another clear threat by Democrats to silence any political opposition.”
This is yet another clear threat by Democrats to silence any political opposition.
The weaponization of the DOJ and the FBI by AG Garland to slander, threaten, and silence these parents will not be tolerated.https://t.co/3Q8YMblpHS
— Matt Rosendale (@RepRosendale) October 6, 2021
South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem (R) called it “unconstitutional” and “unAmerican.”
Noem said, “Shame on Merrick Garland. His intimidation tactics against parents who speak up at School Board mtgs is unconstitutional [and] un-American.”
Shame on Merrick Garland. His intimidation tactics against parents who speak up at School Board mtgs is unconstitutional & un American.
As Governor I will defend all South Dakotans who exercise 1st Amend. rights-especially parents who care what their kids are learning in school.
— Kristi Noem (@KristiNoem) October 5, 2021
Texas Representative Beth Van Duyne (R-TX-24) said the memo was “political.”
She wrote, “This is a cynical, political move to stifle the First Amendment rights of parents who want a say in their child’s education.”
This is a cynical, political move to stifle the First Amendment rights of parents who want a say in their child’s education.
Merrick Garland has now weaponized the DOJ⬇️https://t.co/PMlbDafFlA
— Congresswoman Beth Van Duyne (@RepBethVanDuyne) October 6, 2021
As reported by the Daily Caller, part of the ire surrounding Garland’s memo results from “a letter sent by the National School Boards Association (NSBA) to President Joe Biden on Sept. 29 requesting that the FBI, Department of Homeland Security, Department of Justice and Department of Education employ measures such as the PATRIOT Act in response to alleged threats and acts of violence against public school officials. The letter cites mask mandates and critical race theory as the main issues leading to disputes.”
– – –
Hayley Tschetter is a reporter with The Minnesota Sun and The Wisconsin Daily Star | Star News Network. Follow Hayley on Twitter or like her Facebook page. Send news tips to [email protected].
Photo “Merrick Garland” by Senate Democrats. CC BY 2.0.