“Threats against public servants are not only illegal, they run counter to our nation’s core values,” Attorney General Garland said of the effort in a statement Monday. “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.”
Garland directed the FBI and U.S. attorney’s offices to hold meetings with federal, state and local law enforcement leaders in the next 30 days, during which they will discuss ways to combat what the DOJ called a “disturbing trend” of harassment and threats against school officials.
Critics say the move amounts to an attempt by the Biden administration to bully parents from exercising their First Amendment rights.
The DOJ will also be launching a task force aimed at addressing the issue, while attempting to determine how the federal government could use its powers to prosecute crimes and to assist local law enforcement in incidents that are not federal crimes.
Specialized training will also be made available for local school boards and administrators to assist them in recognizing behaviors that constitute a threat, as well as helping them report the incidents to appropriate law enforcement agencies while preserving evidence to assist in the prosecution of crimes.
The move comes just four days after a leading organization representing the nation’s school boards called on the Biden administration and federal law enforcement agencies to assist school boards, which the group said have seen an increase in violent threats in response to COVID-19 restrictions and critical race theory curriculum.
“While local and state law enforcement agencies are working with public school officials in several communities to prevent further disruptions to educational services and school district operations, law enforcement officials in some jurisdictions need assistance — including help with monitoring the threat levels,” said National School Boards Association President Viola Garcia, whose organization represents over 90,000 school board members.
The Justice Department did not immediately respond to a Fox News request for comment.