An Educational Tonkin Gulf? The NSBA Apologies for the Letter that Triggered the Controversial Federal Operation
Monday October 25, 2021
We recently discussed the controversy following the letter of the National School Boards Association (NSBA) asking the Justice Department to investigate parents causing disruptions or making threats at school board meetings. The letter included a reference to using the Patriot Act against possible domestic terrorism. Attorney General Merrick Garland responded a few days later with an order to the entire Department of Justice to monitor school board meetings around the country and coordinate a response with local officials.
Now the NSBA has issued an apology. The question is whether Garland will now rescind or amend his much criticized memo. It has the feel of an educational version of the Gulf of Tonkin incident. Should we reconsider our deployment in light of the false premise that triggered the escalation of hostilities?
The NSBA stated “On behalf of NSBA, we regret and apologize for the letter . . . there was no justification for some of the language included in the letter.”
Notably, recent coverage indicates that the NSBA coordinated the letter with the White House before it was issued. A significant number of people at the organization (and likely some in the Administration) saw early drafts of this letter. Not one appears to have objected to the reckless and extreme language directed toward parents, citing a handful of cases.