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Concerned Parents Aren’t ‘Domestic Terrorists,’ Except When They Behave Like One

Clarence Page, Tribune Content Agency on

I don’t recall much about the first local school board meeting that I ever covered, long, long ago, except the overflow crowd of local citizens who made it hard to get inside.

“What’s going on?” I asked the seasoned education-beat reporter who was mentoring me that evening.

“Nothing special,” he instructed. “But, anywhere you work, you’ll find that nothing gets people fired up like the local school board meetings.”

Who knew? I soon learned that he was right. People might talk a lot about City Hall, taxes and all. But everybody feels like an expert on how the schools should be run.

That evening often comes back to mind as the latest national battleground for conservative culture wars turns out to be — wait for it — school board meetings.

As you probably have seen in the news, angry protests by parents and people claiming to be parents, further whipped up by conservative politicians and pundits, have disrupted various school board meetings and threatened school officials across the nation.

 

A September letter from the National School Boards Association to President Joe Biden cites more than a dozen disrupted meetings in Illinois, Michigan, California, Georgia, Florida, New Jersey, Ohio, Tennessee, Texas, Washington, Wisconsin and Wyoming.

The list includes Mendon, Illinois, where a 30-year-old man was arrested and charged last month with aggravated battery and disorderly conduct, reportedly for punching a school official at a local school board meeting, according to the Adams County sheriff’s office.

In Birmingham, Michigan, a man was investigated for flashing a Nazi salute and chanting “Heil Hitler” during a raucous board meeting discussion of mask mandates for students, as other unruly anti-maskers booed and shouted insults at anyone who spoke in favor of face coverings.

NSBA officials asked for help from law enforcement, including the Justice, Education and Homeland Security departments as well as the FBI, saying: “These heinous actions could be the equivalent to a form of domestic terrorism and hate crimes.”

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(c) 2021 CLARENCE PAGE DISTRIBUTED BY TRIBUNE MEDIA SERVICES, INC.
 

 

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