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School board asks US for help tackling threats

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FILE - In this August 12, 2021 file photo of protesters against a COVID-19 warrant gesture as they are escorted out of the Clark County School Board meeting at the Clark County Government Center in Las Vegas.  School boards across the country are asking President Joe Biden for federal help to investigate and stop a growing number of threats made against their members on Thursday, September 30.  (Bizuayehu Tesfaye / Las Vegas Review-Journal via AP, File)

FILE – In this August 12, 2021 file photo of protesters against a COVID-19 warrant gesture as they are escorted out of the Clark County School Board meeting at the Clark County Government Center in Las Vegas. School boards across the country are asking President Joe Biden for federal help to investigate and stop a growing number of threats made against their members on Thursday, September 30. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye / Las Vegas Review-Journal via AP, File)

PA

On Thursday, a group representing members of school boards across the country called on President Joe Biden for federal help to investigate and end threats against politicians, including mask warrants, likening vitriol to a form of terrorism domesticated.

Parents and community members have disrupted meetings and threatened board members in person, online and by mail in a trend that deserves the attention of federal law enforcement agencies, the National said. School Boards Association in a letter to Biden.

“Whatever you think of the masks, it shouldn’t get to that level of rhetoric,” NSBA interim executive director Chip Slaven told The Associated Press by phone.

School boards across the country have been disrupted by unruly participants to interfere with business and silence other points of view.

Typically, threats to school board members are dealt with by local law enforcement. But the association called on the federal government to get involved in investigating cases where threats or violence could be treated as violations of federal laws protecting civil rights. He also called on the Department of Justice, the FBI, Homeland Security and the Secret Service to help monitor threat levels and assess risks to students, educators, board members and school buildings.

“As these malicious acts, violence and threats against public school officials have increased, the classification of these heinous actions could amount to a form of domestic terrorism and hate crimes,” wrote the association.

The letter documents more than 20 cases of threats, harassment, disruption and intimidation in California, Florida, Georgia, New Jersey, Ohio and other states. He cites the September arrest of an Illinois man for aggravated assault and battery and disorderly conduct for allegedly hitting a school official during a meeting. In Michigan, a meeting was disrupted when a man gave a Nazi salute to protest the masking.

“We’re following you,” a letter mailed to an Ohio school board member said, according to the group. “You make them wear a mask – for no reason in this world other than control. And for that, you will pay dearly.

He called the member a “dirty traitor”.

The association represents more than 90,000 school board members in 14,000 public school districts.

The threats went beyond board meetings.

The father of an Arizona elementary school student was arrested after he and two other men brought neckties to campus, threatening to “citizen arrest” the school principal for a crime. COVID-19 quarantine.

School board members are largely unpaid volunteers, traditionally former educators and parents who come forward to shape school policy, choose a superintendent and revise the budget. The current climate has led a growing number to resign or decide not to stand for re-election.