Are you a terror threat?  

If you say something at a school board meeting the Department of Justice deems “threatening,” are you a terrorist?  

First Amendment? Anyone? Anyone?  

Parents Defending Education (PDE) shared the following: “The U.S. Department of Justice announced a new initiative to address “harassment, intimidation and threats of violence” against school board members and employees – including but not limited to the creation of a federal task force as well as dedicated lines of communication for threat reporting, assessment, and response by law enforcement under the auspices of the FBI, conveniently, a mere 5 days after the National School Boards Association (NSBA) sent a letter to President Joe Biden, asking for federal intervention.”

In this Just the News article, several groups, including 1776 Unites, Parents Defending Education, and FAIR have weighed in:  

"Nobody's making a case that lawlessness is being tolerated," said [Bob Woodson] the founder of the Woodson Center and its 1776 Unites project, which advises school boards on history curricula and publishes its own lessons. The Department of Justice is creating the impression that parents are "firebombing school board meetings."

Read the Wall Street Journal’s editorial here.

Both the DOJ and the NSBA letters recall the heavy-handed “guidance” letters that the Obama administration issued regarding school discipline and Title IX that hindered the ability of schools to keep classrooms safe and compromised due process on college campuses. 

Also of note is the possible conflict of interest due to Attorney General Merrick Garland’s family ties to Panorama, a vendor of the very type of material parents are objecting to at school board meetings. Among Panorama’s products is an “Equity and Inclusion Survey.” Just this week New Trier utilized Panorama’s “asset-based surveys that yield baseline information about students’ current social-emotional and academic strategy skills.”  

New Trier Neighbors stands for civil but free speech. We trust our fellow citizens to be respectful and fully capable of exercising their 1st amendment rights of speech, assembly, and to petition for redress of grievances responsibly. 

Conversely, why do school boards, the NSBA and now the Justice Department want to chill or outright curtail the exercise of these rights? What, exactly, are they afraid of?

PDE has set up a comment portal where you can send comments directly to the Department of Justice to express your views. 

Voice your opinion!  

"Undoctrinate" Webinar video now live!  

Thanks for tuning in to our webinar with Undoctrinate author Bonnie Snyder from FIRE (Foundation for Individual Rights in Education). The conversation is linked here!

New Trier Neighbors’ Ted Dabrowski and Beth Feeley covered a lot of territory with Snyder including how schools have edged into teaching ideology over ideas, the downsides of self-censorship, and how you can engage with your own school.  

Within Undoctrinate Snyder highlights the legal underpinnings of what is appropriate and not appropriate in a classroom and lists four key questions you can ask to evaluate if classroom material is in keeping with pedagogically-sound teaching:

  • Is it aligned with the curriculum?
  • Is it even-handed?
  • Is it inflammatory?
  • Is it age-appropriate?

Read about these and other tools in Undoctrinate. Also check out for more information.