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The meeting between the National Association of Secondary School Principles (NASSP) and U.S. Education Secretary Miguel Cardona comes months after the group requested the Biden administration “ban hostile parents and individuals from school grounds who threaten our safety.”
Miguel Cardona speaking after President-Elect Joe Biden announced his nomination for Education Secretary at the Queen Theatre on December 23, 2020 in Wilmington, Delaware. (Joshua Roberts/Getty Images)
At the time the letter was sent in September, school board members were the scenes of contentious arguments between school administrators and irate parents protesting the school’s COVID-19 policies.
School officials complained that they were facing threats for “simply trying to follow the health and scientific safety guidance that the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and local health departments are issuing.”
“NASSP is calling on federal officials to protect school leaders from rampant hostility and violence that disrupts our schools and threatens the safety of our educations and students,” NASSP said.
The National School Boards Association (NSBA) asked the Biden administration for assistance in dealing with a wave of parental backlash.
In early October, the Justice Department launched an effort to combat what it said is an “increase” in “threats of violence” against school officials and teachers across the country.
Merrick Garland, U.S. Attorney General, speaks during the U.S. Conference of Mayors winter meeting in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Friday, Jan. 21, 2022. (Eric Lee/Bloomberg via Getty Images)
“Threats against public servants are not only illegal, they run counter to our nation’s core values,” Attorney General Merrick Garland said of the effort in a statement. “Those who dedicate their time and energy to ensuring that our children receive a proper education in a safe environment deserve to be able to do their work without fear for their safety.”
NASSP lauded the DOJ for its efforts to address the situation. NASSCP CEO Ronn Nozoe said in a statement that “school leaders have made their voices heard.”
“It’s alarming when you face personal and professional threats for just doing your job,” NASSP board member Bill Ziegler said in a statement. “The safety of my students, staff and school community is of the utmost importance. Schools need to be conducive to teaching, learning and collaboration, and I welcome the federal help to counter threats that individuals are making against our schools that are disrupting learning and potentially harming dedicated educators.”
Cardona and U.S. Deputy Secretary of Education Cindy Marten met with NASSP representatives Monday to kick of their Trailblazing Leadership Week in Washington, D.C. at the U.S Department of Education.
Principals relayed how they are meeting students’ academic needs and using funds from the American Rescue Plan (ARP) to help with the post-COVID recovery.