School board members and educators in at least nine states this year have been targeted with threats, death threats, and often racist death threats, including in Virginia, Arizona, Connecticut, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Louisiana, Wisconsin, Illinois, and Vermont, according to local news reports.
Evangelical anti-LGBTQ activist and former Trump advisor Franklin Graham this week jumped on the right wing conspiracy theory that wrongly claims the U.S. Dept. of Justice is investigating parents who merely attend school board meetings to voice their "strong opinions."
Attorney General Merrick Garland, responding to a request by a nationwide association of school board members urging protection in the face of the rising threats of violence, announced the FBI will investigate anyone who makes a threat against school board members, educators, and staff, citing the “disturbing spike in harassment, intimidation, and threats of violence."
"Threats against public servants are not only illegal, they run counter to our nation's core values," Garland wrote, noting "criminal conduct" will be investigated.
Franklin Graham, twisting the very clear memo the DOJ released, declared that investigating parents who share their opinions at school board meetings is "communism."
And he injected his own anti-LGBTQ hatred in his attack, on a topic that's rarely being discussed these days at school board meetings.
"It's an ominous sign when the government uses its power to try and silence the voice of the people," Graham told his 9.7 million Facebook followers. "That's how communism works."
"Anyone who speaks against communism or the goals of communism becomes the enemy. And we're seeing this happen right in our own country. The Biden Administration, which bows to the radical progressive left, would like to silence parents who voice strong opinions against critical race theory and trans radicalism at school board meetings. Unbelievably, the National School Boards Association asked that parent protests at school board meetings be treated as possible acts of 'domestic terrorism.' This tactic of intimidation is meant to silence parents with views the Left doesn't agree with," Graham said, mischaracterizing the DOJ's very clear memo.
As NCRM has previously reported, conservatives have spent months organizing and training “grassroots" activists to bombard school board meetings to oppose mask mandates and “critical race theory." At least one former Trump administration official is involved behind the scenes, and Christopher Rufo, the right wing activist who admitted his goal was to twist critical race theory to mean anything “crazy" the right wants it to also mischaracterized Garland's order, once against igniting outrage on the right.
"We cannot let the government take over the parenting of our children. School boards and schools should educate, not indoctrinate," Graham declared. "If anti-woke, anti-socialism, anti-communism citizens like us do not speak up, get involved, and take a stand to preserve what we have in this country, it will disappear right before our eyes—in just one generation."
MSNBC's Zerlina Maxwell covered the rise in violent threats against school boards on Thursday, saying: "Individual school board members are getting death threats."