CINCINNATI, Ohio – The campaign of U.S. Senate hopeful J.D. Vance of Ohio has called for U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland to resign after the nation’s top law enforcement official issued a directive targeting hostile parents nationwide who protest progressive education policies at school board meetings.
Garland issued the directive on October 4 telling the U.S. Attorneys and Federal Bureau of Investigation offices to coordinate with federal, state and local law enforcement on what he called an increase in harassment, intimidation and threats of violence against school board members, teachers and school staff.
The directive follows increasing parental activism against the training of teachers and teaching of students on a social justice philosophy called Critical Race Theory (CRT) and other cultural transformative policies in the wake of President Joe Biden’s election.
“As crime and murder have exploded across our country and Mexican drug cartels flood our country with deadly fentanyl, Merrick Garland has decided the real threat to our Republic are moms protesting against Critical Race Theory at school board meetings,” Vance’s statement released Thursday read.
“Garland is quite clearly trying to chill free speech and silence dissent on behalf of the Democrat Party,” the statement continues. “His attempt to weaponize the Federal Government to target Joe Biden enemies should not be tolerated. Garland should resign.”
Garland’s statement said the Justice Department also will launch other efforts in the coming days to address what he contends is “a rise in criminal conduct” against teachers, administrators and board members.
Biden quickly reintroduced race-based diversity training within the federal bureaucracy after his inauguration and has supported prioritizing grant applications funding CRT curriculum through the U.S. Department of Education.
Civility Advised in Protests
Those against the teaching of CRT and other left-leaning instruction and policies have been active in Ohio, both at the local level and at the Ohio Statehouse.
About 100 conservatives gathered on the south plaza of the Statehouse in late September at a Stop CRT in Ohio Rally. Those protesters sought the support of Ohio House Bill 327 as they called on the Ohio Board of Education to rescind a July 2020 resolution supporting CRT principles in teaching training and student curriculum.
Jonathan Broadbent, the Northern Ohio co-chair of the Protect Ohio Children Coalition grassroots activist network, said some parents have already feel harassed by school board members after objecting to CRT materials or, as in the recent case in Huson, Ohio, inappropriate writing assignments. Parents also get challenged or ignored when speaking against mask mandates in school and COVID-19 vaccination requirements.
He called Garland’s directive “an example of egregious government overreach.”
“They have no reason to sic the Department of Justice on parents,” Broadbent told The Ohio Star in a phone interview. “I hate to see parents silenced on any important topic.”
He said he advises parents seeking to challenge school policies to get organized with their statements and divide up topics among parents speaking when approaching school boards. He also advises civil language in their presentations.
“I do not advocate any sort of threats or menacing gestures,” said Broadbent. “I encourage everybody to calmly approach their issues.”
He said awareness of progressive school curriculum and programming came to the forefront during the COVID-19 school closure when students received lessons and materials at home.
“Parents are seeing it because children were at home last year,” Broadbent said, “and have started to ask questions.”
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Brian R. Ball is a veteran Columbus journalist writing for The Ohio Star and Star News Network. Email him news tips to [email protected]
Photo “J.D. Vance” by J.D. Vance. Background Photo “Department of Justice” by Sebmol CC BY-SA 3.0.