Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) joined the group of all-Republican senators in demanding the Justice Department “not interfere with the rights of parents to come before school boards and speak with educators about their concerns.”
The letter comes after Attorney General Merrick Garland’s Oct. 4 memo. Garland announced that the DOJ would implement measures to address threats made toward school personnel following a recent “disturbing spike in harassment, intimidation, and threats of violence against school administrators, board members, teachers, and staff.”
The senators responded with a jointly-written letter, arguing that the parents were exercising their First Amendment rights.
“The school board meetings at issue in the National School Boards Association letter largely appear to involve parents being frustrated by COVID-19 mask mandates for children as well as the possibility of school curricula newly incorporating the controversial academic discipline generally known as critical race theory,” the letter read. “Parents who get upset about these topics, and others, are engaging in speech that is clearly protected under the First Amendment.”
Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), John Cornyn (R-TX), Mike Lee (R-UT), Ted Cruz (R-TX), Ben Sasse (R-NE), Josh Hawley (R-MO), Tom Cotton (R-AK), John Kennedy (R-LA), Thom Tillis (R-NC), and Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) also signed the letter.