Over 60 GOP members of Congress, including Tennessee Representative Scott DesJarlais (R-TN-04), sent a letter Thursday to the Department of Justice (DOJ) demanding answers as to why the Department is targeting parents who oppose Critical Race Theory (CRT) and mask mandates in schools.
This comes after Attorney General Merrick Garland sent a memo to the FBI announcing a “partnership among federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial law enforcement to address threats against school administrators, boards members, teachers and staff” as well as “a series of measures designed to address the rise in criminal conduct directed toward school personnel” in response to a National School Board Association letter claiming parental opposition to school mandates, such as mask mandates, and ideology, such as CRT, “could be the equivalent to a form of domestic terrorism and hate crimes.”
The GOP members of Congress state in their joint letter addressed to Attorney General Garland, “During the COVID-19 pandemic, parents are taking notice of what and how their children are being taught in the classroom, hot-button social issues being weaved into the curriculum, and what safety protocols their child is supposed to follow while attending school. While some of these meetings may get heated, most of the parents who have been demanding these meetings have simply voiced their passions and concerns for their children and their futures. While we agree with you that any threat of violence against these government officials should be condemned and investigated, no government official has the right to claim that a citizen may not peacefully speak out against government policies. ”
The lawmakers wrap up their letter with a series of questions regarding the DOJ’s agenda to mobilize against parents who oppose CRT and mask mandates.
“As the top law enforcement officer in the United States, it is your responsibility to combat criminal behavior as well as defend the Constitutional rights of all Americans,” the letter concludes. “We hope you will take these duties seriously and not stifle free speech while moving forward with your investigations.”
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Kaitlin Housler is a reporter at The Tennessee Star and The Star News Network. Email tips to [email protected]
Photo “Scott DesJarlais” by Scott DesJarlais. Photo “Department of Justice” by Ken Lund. CC BY-SA 2.0.