An independent review released by the National School Boards Association (NSBA) found that the organization had wanted to ask the White House to deploy Army National Guard and military police to ensure peace and order during local school board meetings.
An early draft letter from NSBA addressed to President Joe Biden that was released on May 20 as part of the review said that law enforcement should be deployed to "certain school districts and related events where students and school personnel have been subjected to acts and threats of violence." But that language was later removed, the review revealed, as reported by the Christian Post.
In October 2021, emails that were made public showed how the NSBA consulted with the Biden administration when writing the September 29, 2021 letter. Critics accused the NSBA of likening the actions of concerned parents to "domestic terrorism," and prompted a memo from Attorney General Merrick Garland ordering the FBI to work with local law enforcement to look into the threats against school officials. Later, reports revealed that the NSBA had been "engaged with the White House for several weeks" before the letter was made public.
NSBA's Letter to the White House Requested for Law Enforcement at School Board Meetings
In its letter to the Biden administration, NSBA sought the U.S. Department of Justice's orders to mobilize law enforcement agencies to respond to "threats and acts of violence against public schoolchildren, public school board members, and other public school district officials and educators." Some of these threats were allegedly criticism from parents who opposed the COVID mask mandates in schools. The NSBA also said that school boards were being confronted by "angry mobs" that caused them to "end meetings abruptly."
The backlash that followed NSBA's letter requesting to deploy the National Guard to school board meetings caused the organization to retain attorney Philip Kiko to conduct the independent review. The group said that the review was "conducted independently from the influence of the NSBA, its staff, and Board of Directors."
NSBA Conducts Independent Review Into Request to Deploy National Guard at School Board Meetings
The independent review involved interviewing 30 people, which included NSBA staff. Attorneys who conducted the independent review also filed Freedom of Information Act or FOIA requests for information and documents to the Departments of Justice, Education, and Homeland Security.
The independent review into NSBA's desire to deploy the National Guard to school board meetings found that the letter addressed to the Biden administration was "principally directed, reviewed, and approved" by the group's former Interim Director and CEO Chip Slaven. He is believed to be the one responsible for the letter's "origin and substance."
Four other NSBA officials were found to be involved in the crafting of the letter" Program Director Deborah Rigsby, Interim Chief Advocacy Officer Jane Mellow, and Director of Communications Jason Amos. Apart from these people, the letter was not approved within the organization. In fact, the final letter was not disclosed to the full board of directors of the NSBA or its members until after it was given to the White House.
NSBA Board President Frank S. Henderson Jr. said in a statement that the draft of the letter was shared with the Board of Officers, but they "did not review the letter more closely at the time." He assured that the sentiments in the letter do not reflect that of the board or NSBA and pledged to focus on "implementing processes" to ensure it does not happen again.