LANSING, Mich. — Sen. Jim Runestad supported the adoption of Senate Resolution 86 on Tuesday, condemning the Oct. 4 memo from the U.S Department of Justice that directed the FBI to work with U.S. attorneys and local law enforcement agencies on strategies to investigate parents speaking up at school board meetings across the country.
U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland’s memo was issued following a Sept. 29 letter by the National School Board Association to President Biden that insisted the federal government investigate parents protesting at school board meetings under the PATRIOT Act and claimed that “these heinous actions could be the equivalent to a form of domestic terrorism and hate crimes.”
“The attorney general’s memo was a clear act of intimidation and harassment against parents who might speak out against school board actions. The weight of his words has the chilling threat of federal intervention — deterring parents, who have legitimate concerns about school issues, from passionately advocating on behalf of their children,” said Runestad, R-White Lake.
“It is appalling and sinister — and quite frankly un-American — to put forth the idea that if someone raises their voice in opposition to a school board, federal authorities should label and punish them as domestic terrorists.
“As our Founding Fathers drafted the U.S. Constitution, it was of utmost importance to them to protect every citizen’s freedom of speech and right of the people to assemble peaceably. They preserved that guarantee in the First Amendment.
“The First Amendment protects the weak from the strong. It assures citizens their right to assemble, protest and speak freely. Parents have a constitutionally protected right to speak up if they are unhappy with their children’s school policies or curriculum. Instead, it seems the Department of Justice and the Biden administration shut them down.
“I strongly condemn the attorney general’s Oct. 4 memo for its intimidating stance and I hope parents will not shy away from peacefully advocating on behalf of their children. Parents are the ones who know what is in their children’s best interest, not government agents or boards.”