On Monday, the Texas Freedom Caucus submitted an open letter to Texas independent school districts, encouraging them to leave the Texas Association of School Boards. This followed the state chapter’s refusal to leave its national organization in light of the National School Boards Association comparing concerned parents to domestic terrorists in September.
“Since the Texas Association of School Boards refuses to do the right thing to sever ties with the clearly un-American organization called the National School Boards Association, it’s time for our local ISDs to leave TASB,” the caucus stated. “Parents are under attack, and it’s time for us to stand up and send a strong message supporting parental rights by no longer forcing taxpayers to pay for or belong to organizations that accuse sincerely concerned parents of domestic terrorism.”
The National School Boards Association (NSBA) submitted a letter on September 29 to the Biden administration, requesting that the U.S. Department of Justice use resources allocated for counter-terrorism efforts on parents who attend and participate in local school board meetings across the nation. The letter even went as far as to suggest the use of the Patriot Act and called these parents “domestic terrorists.”
U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland responded on October 4 by issuing a memorandum calling for the creation of a task force to “facilitate the discussion of strategies for addressing threats against school administrators, board members, teachers, and staff, and will open dedicated lines of communication for threat reporting, assessment, and response.”
Just a few weeks later, Garland testified before the U.S. House Judiciary Committee, denying that his memorandum was about using the Patriot Act against parents or agreeing that concerned parents were to be deemed “domestic terrorists.” This backtracking ran parallel to an apology letter submitted by NSBA on October 22, where they indicated that they “regret and apologize” for the letter in late September.
In a letter submitted in mid-November, nine Texas congressmen implored the Texas Association of School Boards (TASB) to leave the NSBA based on both their previous statements and information received via a freedom of information request showing that the NSBA had in fact notified TASB that the letter calling parents “domestic terrorists” was to be sent to the Biden administration.
Thus far, 15 states—which include Alabama, Florida, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Missouri, Montana, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, and Wisconsin—have taken action to either withdraw completely from the NSBA or at least withdraw their dues and participation from the organization.
Texas Freedom Caucus Request
In the letter, the Texas Freedom Caucus cited an inconsistency as the impetus for their call to individual independent school districts (ISDs) to leave TASB.
In contrast, TASB has said nothing publicly of the situation. All that can be found is a statement they gave to the organization Parents Defending Education, where they passed the buck on to NSBA, saying they were neither “consulted nor involved” in the construction of the letter, and saying nothing with regard to the attack on parents by the NSBA. In TASB’s response to our letter, not only do they refuse to resin from NSBA, but they further minimize the situation by saying the NSBA “missed the mark” with their letter and that it was an unfortunate “distraction” from TASB’s work.
The Texas Freedom Caucus is composed of nine House lawmakers, which include Republican State Reps. Mayes Middleton (Galveston), Matt Schaefer (Tyler), Matt Krause (Haslet), Briscoe Cain (Deer Park), Matt Shaheen (Plano), Valoree Swanson (Spring), Steve Toth (The Woodlands), Cody Vasut (Angleton), and James White (Hillister).
At the conclusion of their letter, they encourage parents to go to their local school board meetings and demand that their local ISDs leave TASB.