Rep. Mike Garcia, R-Santa Clarita, and fellow lawmakers sent a letter to U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland demanding answers on why the Department of Justice is targeting parents who speak out in opposition to school board decisions. The letter comes in response to the attorney general’s recent memorandum on targeting “criminal conduct” at school board meetings.
“In the state of California, and across the United States, there are a number of hot button issues being decided by government officials that have caused increased parental participation and community engagement at local school board meetings,” Garcia said in a prepared statement. “As elected officials, school board members are responsible for hearing the thoughts and concerns parents have regarding what their kids are being taught in the classroom.”
“While officials should never face threats of violence, parents and the general public have a constitutional right to express, in a peaceful manner, their concerns and disagreements on behalf of their children — especially to those they elected,” Garcia’s statement added. “The attorney general is rightfully condemning violent actions against elected officials, but his memorandum to the Department of Justice was dangerously vague — putting the First Amendment rights of many lawful citizens at risk. It is my hope that Attorney General Garland will clarify the department’s intentions.”
The lawmakers’ letter requested answers to the faollowing questions about the department’s intentions by Nov. 15:
- What specific cases are you referencing in your memorandum that rise to the level of “criminal conduct”?
- What criteria/behavior is the Department of Justice considering “criminal conduct”?
- What federal statutes do you plan to cite in your prosecution of these parents?
- Who will be conducting the investigation into these cases? Please provide details on the roles of the FBI, United States attorneys, state and local law enforcement, and any other entities that will be involved.
- Will you be looking into other cases of alleged intimidation of school board members who have attempted to end COVID-era policies?