Willie R. Tubbs, FISM News
An email from a regional director of the National School Boards Association has some on the right convinced that Attorney General Merrick Garland misled Congress about the genesis of his now-infamous school board memo. While the evidence is limited, and at best circumstantial, it also illustrates how convoluted the memo controversy remains.
On Monday, Parents Defending Education, a non-profit organization whose stated goal is “to reclaim our schools from activists imposing harmful agendas,” issued a press release saying it had found evidence that, prior to its publication, Garland made NSBA interim-CEO Chip Slaven aware of the memo that offered the use of federal law enforcement to protect school boards from violence. The memo seemed to be a response to concerned parents showing up in droves at school board meetings demanding that officials relax COVID-19 restrictions and cease teaching Critical Race Theory.
The email, which the group obtained via a Freedom of Information Act request, was sent from Pam Doyle, director of the NSBA’s southern region, to a member of the NSBA board of directors. Dated Oct. 5, 2021, the email reads, “I understand [Slaven] knew about the A.G. directives before they were published. So much for communicating with the [Board of Directors].”
The importance of this email will come down to two factors – the credibility one assigns to Doyle and the timeline of events. The former is subjective – each observer must choose if he or she believes Doyle was in a position to know Slaven’s communications with Garland – but the latter proves an objective measure by which one can reason through the chronology.
Oct. 5 was a day after Garland’s memo’s release and six days after the NSBA wrote a letter to President Joe Biden referring to parents as “domestic terrorists” and encouraging the use of federal law enforcement agents to quell dissent. The NSBA’s letter was so unpopular that it led NSBA to apologize and promise an investigation.
“The [NSBA] is launching an independent comprehensive review of the circumstances around the September 2021 letter sent to the Biden administration,” Dr. John Heim, the NSBA’s new executive director and CEO, told Fox News. “The sentiments shared in the letter do not represent the views or position of NSBA toward parents, and directly contradict our core commitment to parent engagement – we sent the wrong message, and we have apologized.”
Parents Defending Education says the email it released Monday is proof that Garland told Slaven about the memo beforehand, which in turn means Garland lied to Congress when he said he wrote his memo in response to NSBA’s letter.
The reality is that this email only proves that Doyle believes Slaven to have been informed of the memo, which itself isn’t necessarily a problem. Garland’s testimony was that he wrote his memo in response to the letter, not that he wrote the memo without speaking to anyone at NSBA. There is enough time between Sept. 29, the date of the NSBA letter, and Oct. 4 for Garland to have learned of the letter, written a response, and informed Slaven that a public response was forthcoming.
However, the facts become further complicated by an earlier release from Parents Defending Education. As reported by FISM previously, the parent group also released an email which suggests Slaven had in fact written the NSBA’s original letter at the request of Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona, an allegation the White House denies.
Parents Defending Freedom asserts its primary goal in these releases to force Garland and the Biden administration to give a full account of the events that led to the memo.
“The American people deserve the truth about this issue immediately,” Nicole Neilly, president of Parents Defending Education, told Fox News. “It is appalling that the Department of Justice and Education Department have continued to stonewall on this scandal, ignoring pleas not only from the very people they are supposed to represent but also from the elected officials to whom they report. It’s little wonder that trust in government is at a historic low point.”
Garland has not yet responded. The NSBA has promised to share the results of its investigation with the public and officials in Washington.