The National School Boards Association is a federation of state associations of school boards across the United States. Almost all school boards across the country are dues-paying members.
Some school boards are disconnecting from the mothership, after the national group inferred that activist parents are domestic terrorists and that they need protection from the federal government against protesting parents. The Pennsylvania School Board Association is the most well-know, after it voted unanimously to leave the national association.
Anchorage School District Board member Dave Donley wants the Anchorage board to at least condemn the actions of the National School Board Association. In a resolution to be introduced Tuesday night at the 5 pm regularly scheduled school board meeting, the lone conservative on the Anchorage School Board says enough is enough.
Donley says parents nationwide have increasingly protested public school policies and practices, but the vast majority of protests have been an exercise of free speech at public school board meetings.
The move by the Biden Administration’s Department of Justice to label protesters at public meetings “terrorists” concerns Donley, who says “the legal conducting of local school board meetings is a local matter and should not be interfered with by the federal government.”
On Sept. 29, the National School Board Association, citing the Patriot Act, made public a letter demanding Biden take federal action against parents.
“The justification for federal action included that parents were ‘posting watchlists against school boards and spreading misinformation (sic) that boards are adopting critical race theory curriculum and working to maintain online learning by haphazardly attributing it to COVID-19,” Donley’s resolution states.
The national group’s letter from NSBA to Biden cited 24 incidents around the country that were tantamount to domestic terrorism or hate crimes. But, Donley points out in his resolution, “16 consisted entirely of merely verbal exchanges between parents and school board members in which there was never a threat of physical violence.” He believes local school boards can provide their own security, and that the FBI is not an appropriate tool.
On Oct. 4, U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland issued a memorandum that appeared to many as a threat to parents over their right to protest.
“While spirited debate about policy matters is protected under our Constitution, that protection does not extend to threats of violence or efforts to intimidate individuals based on their views … The Department takes these incidents seriously and is committed to using its authority and resources to discourage these threats, identify them when they occur, and prosecute them when appropriate. In the coming days, the Department will announce a series of measures designed to address the rise in criminal conduct directed toward school personnel.”
Donley says that the short timeline between the National School Board letter to the president and the action of the top law officer in the country indicates that there was coordination.
He says the normal process for involving the Department of Justice would have taken much longer and required more extensive review. He said the process has been corrupted due to apparent coordination with a single group.
Donley says mainstream education and lobby groups that support the Biden Administration, including the National Education Association, “have combined to oppress, threaten, and intimidate parents to chill and prevent them from exercising the rights or privileges secured by the Constitution.”
His resolution proposes the Anchorage School Board condemns in the strongest terms:
1. Any violence or threats of violence against any public official in relation to their official actions and;
2. Any action by the Federal Government to usurp the appropriate enforcement of the law by local government officials and;
3. The actions of the National School Boards Association in sending their September 29, 2021, letter to the Attorney General and;
4. The actions of the U.S. Attorney General in issuing his October 4, 2021, memorandum which fails to clearly state that the Department of Justice will not use federal law enforcement action to stifle free speech by political opponents of the Biden Administration.
Donley is not likely to get his resolution passed by the hard-left Anchorage School Board. In recent meetings, Board Chair Margo Bellamy has repeatedly distorted Roberts Rules of Order to prevent Donley from offering comments during board meetings. Many members of the public concerned about protecting Anchorage residents have had their focused turned to the dramatic events at the Anchorage Assembly, where another group of left-leaning lawmakers have passed an ordinance mandating compulsory mask wearing in the state’s largest city. The Assembly meetings have been carried over to the same timeframes as the Anchorage School Board meetings, drawing away the usual crowd of objectors to the increasingly left-leaning policies, as well as the forced masking of children.
Donley is a former state senator and state representative, and is now a deputy commissioner for the state Department of Administration. He is a lawyer who from 2003 to 2008 served as chief of adjudication and hearing officer for the State of Alaska. He was commissioned in the Alaska State Defense Force as a state military officer in 2008, rising to the rank of colonel in 2019.
But he is the only member of the school board who has bucked the policy of masking children in schools in Anchorage, and he has spoken openly and critically about the push for Critical Race Theory curriculum in Anchorage classrooms and in the continuing education materials for educators.
Read the National Association of School Board’s letter to President Joe Biden: