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School boards seek federal protection from 'heinous' acts of intimidation

The National School Boards Association said its members are facing threats in response to Covid safety policies and false claims about critical race theory.

An association representing more than 90,000 local school boards nationwide is urging President Joe Biden to protect their members from the "heinous" threats of violence they've increasingly faced since the pandemic began.

The National School Boards Association “respectfully asks for federal law enforcement and other assistance” to deal with the mounting instances of harassment and acts of intimidation, the group wrote Wednesday in a letter to Biden

In their letter, the NSBA outlined threats lobbed at school board members and educators in response to the adoption of mask policies meant to curb the spread of Covid-19. The group said its members are also being targeted because of "propaganda purporting the false inclusion of critical race theory within classroom instruction."

Critical race theory is a college-level field of scholarship, and it is not being taught in U.S. grade or high schools. But conservative figures have used it as a boogeyman to rile their base for future elections, stoking racist fears over nonwhite educators and lesson plans that discuss inequality.

The National School Boards Association said its members are being targeted because of baseless claims about critical race theory.Evelyn Hockstein / Reuters; MSNBC

The NSBA said “immediate” assistance is needed to protect school board members, educators and students from “acts of violence affecting interstate commerce because of threats to their districts, families, and personal safety.”

There have been several documented incidents of violence against education officials stemming from mask requirements in schools. Educators across the country — many of them nonwhite — have also reported receiving death threats over lesson plans that explore systemic inequality. 

The NSBA asked the federal government to “investigate, intercept and prevent the current threats and acts of violence” using a host of tools at its disposal, including “existing statutes, executive authority, interagency and intergovernmental task forces, and other extraordinary measures.”

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