The White House was in communications with the National School Board Association (NSBA) two weeks before the organization submitted a letter requesting federal intervention to curb concerned parents — whose actions were allegedly akin to “domestic terrorism” — at school board meetings.
NSBA’s President Viola Garcia emailed with state school board associations about the timeline of the Sept. 29 letter’s drafting. The emails included the dates that the organization worked hand-in-hand with the White House, according to a memo obtained by Parents Defending Education.
On Sept. 14, state school board members were allegedly informed that the NSBA “was preparing to send a letter to the President” and that “there had been a meeting with White House staff that morning.” The memo states that the NSBA worked with the White House, Department of Justice, Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Education, the Surgeon General, and other federal agencies on “pandemic related issues.”
Previous email correspondence between NSBA leadership confirmed that the organization was in communication with the White House for “several weeks” before the organization’s letter dropped. (RELATED: White House Collaborated With School Board Group On Letter Comparing Parents To ‘Domestic Terrorists’)
The NSBA’s internal memo was sent to the organization’s State Association Officers and Executive Directors, many of whom were angered by NSBA’s leadership for sending the letter without approval from its Board of Directors.
A slew of state school board associations nationwide have withdrawn from the National School Board Association or distanced themselves by condemning the organization’s wording and handling of the letter.
The NSBA maintains that it communicated with state school board association members before they sent the letter. According to emails obtained by Parent Defending Education, members said they “could not believe” that the NSBA was making such statements.
Andrea Messina, the executive director of the Florida School Board Association, said that no agenda item referenced the organization’s official work with the White House. She noted that she doesn’t “pay attention” when NSBA leadership talks about working with the White House because it’s brought up so frequently.
“I did go back and find the email with the agenda and there was nothing referencing this on the agenda. [NSBA’s CEO] very well may have informed us that he had spoken with the White House that morning. Regretfully, he said that every time I get on a call with him, so I don’t pay attention,” Messina wrote. “I do not recall him asking them for help at all and, like you, believe that even if I had missed it one of my colleagues would’ve picked up on it.”
The NSBA has since apologized to its membership for the letter, though it has not officially retracted the letter from its website.
The letter was used as evidence by Attorney General Merrick Garland to direct the Department of Justice to create a task force to determine how “federal enforcement tools can be used” at local school board meetings. Garland has refused to rescind his directive.