Murphy Pushes Back Against DOJ Attempt to Intimidate Concerned Parents

October 7, 2021
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, Rep. Greg Murphy, M.D. (NC-03), Ranking Member of the Higher Education and Workforce Investment Subcommittee, joined his Republican Education and Labor Committee colleagues in sending a letter to Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona and Attorney General Merrick Garland. In the letter, Murphy and his colleagues demanded a committee briefing regarding the administration’s recent threats against parents concerned about their children’s education.

“As attorney general, it is Merrick Garland’s responsibility to combat criminal behavior AND defend our constitutional rights, including the freedom of speech and freedom of assembly,” said Rep. Murphy. “Threats of violence should never be tolerated and should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. However, the Administration must clarify their position immediately and provide answers as to why they plan to target parents exercising their civil rights at school board meetings. To be clear, parents are the primary stakeholders in their child’s education – not the federal government. Our letter calls for full transparency and a congressional briefing regarding the investigation of parents prior to any action by the DOJ or FBI.”

In the letter, the Members write: “Even when the subjects may be tough, it is important for school officials, elected officials, and teachers to understand and address parents’ concerns. Violence and threats of violence are never acceptable. Neither are school boards hiding behind law enforcement rather than dealing with parents’ sincere concerns.”

The Members continue: “Sunshine on these policies is key to ensuring children receive the best education possible; your actions to dismiss or threaten the lawful expression of parents’ legitimate concerns is harmful to our nation.”

The Members specifically highlight Secretary Cardona’s disparaging comments towards parents, calling them “angry their guy didn’t win,” and the Department of Justice’s memo instructing the FBI to squash parents’ first amendment rights.

Read the full letter to Secretary Cardona and Attorney General Garland here.

Background: On October 4, 2021, Attorney General Garland sent a memorandum to several directors across the Department of Justice (DOJ) informing them of his intention to investigate, “threats of violence” at school board meetings. This comes just days after the National School Board Association sent a letter to President Biden asking them to treat parent dissent at school board meetings as possible acts of, “domestic terrorism.” Republicans have expressed grave concern that Garland’s memorandum is too vague, too broad, and gives the impression that parent opposition to school teachings will result in federal investigation.