The Wall Street Journal is knocking Attorney General Merrick Garland for pushing the Justice Department to mobilize the FBI and U.S. attorneys to investigate protests at public school board meetings.
"Is there a culture-war issue that Merrick Garland won’t jump into?" the newspaper asked in an editorial published in Thursday’s print edition.
"We can’t think of one, and now the Attorney General is nosing the Justice Department into debates at local school boards.
"His intervention came this week after the National School Boards Association (NSBA) wrote to President (Joe) Biden asking the feds to consider if threats and acts directed at school boards 'could be the equivalent to a form of domestic terrorism and hate crimes.'
"We hadn’t heard that an angry parent is the equivalent of ISIS."
Garland, in a Monday memo to FBI Director Christopher Wray and Justice Department prosecutors wrote: "Threats against public servants are not only illegal, they run counter to our nation's core values. In the coming days, the department will announce a series of measures designed to address the rise in criminal conduct directed toward school personnel."
The Journal said that the letter from NSBA had noted various disruptions and incidents at school boards around the country, including a man in Michigan giving a Nazi salute and shouting "Heil Hitler."
However, the Journal said the incidents don’t constitute federal offenses.
"The AG is also getting close to chilling political speech that is protected by the First Amendment," the newspaper said. "Invoking Hitler may be dumb and over the top, but it’s protected speech."
"If these debates are more contentious than they ought to be, one problem may be that those running public schools don’t think they’re accountable to parents."
The newspaper claimed that "many school boards view parents as a nuisance, and that can lead to frustration when people finally get a chance to be heard."
"Local and state authorities are well equipped to make arrests and prosecute threats or acts of violence," it said. "Parents don’t want or need the FBI and federal prosecutors intervening to stifle their legitimate concerns for the education of their children."
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