In a memorandum sent by Garland on Monday, the attorney general notes that he is leading the FBI to work with "federal, state, local, Tribal, and territorial leaders" in order to talk about what he describes as a "disturbing" amount of threats of violence and harassment being made toward teachers, administrators and school board officials.
"Threats against public servants are not only illegal, they run counter to our nation's core values," Garland said. "Those who dedicate their time and energy to ensuring that our children receive a proper education in a safe environment deserve to be able to do their work without fear for their safety."
Garland's announcement comes after the National School Boards Association issued a Sept. 29 letter to President Joe Biden in which they lamented "persevering against other challenges that could impede" their response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“America’s public schools and its education leaders are under an immediate threat,” the group wrote to Biden.
“These threats and acts of violence are affecting our nation’s democracy at the very foundational levels, causing school board members – many who are not paid – to resign immediately and/or discontinue their service after their respective terms,” the school board officials said.
"Coupled with attacks against school board members and educators for approving policies for masks to protect the health and safety of students and school employees, many public school officials are also facing physical threats because of propaganda purporting the false inclusion of critical race theory within classroom instruction and curricula," the NSBA wrote.
Curricula incorporating tenets of critical race theory have been registered across the country, driving conflicts between parents and administrators. Loudoun County, Virginia, has grown to be the most prominent education battleground in the country — education reform is now a major problem in the gubernatorial race.
The letter from the NSBA demanded that the FBI, Department of Justice, and the Department of Homeland Security use tools such as the "Gun-Free School Zones Act, the PATRIOT Act, Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, the Violent Interference with Federally Protected Rights statute, the Conspiracy Against Rights statute," along with "an Executive Order" in a mission to crack down on alleged violent threats.
The NSBA went on to claim that "extremist hate organizations showing up at school board meetings are being reported."
In response to the NBA's demands, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said that the government takes "the security of public servants and elected officials across the country very seriously. And obviously these threats to school board members are horrible. They're doing their jobs."