MINNEAPOLIS — We've gotten a glimpse of too many school board meeting rooms lately. Whether it's a race and diversity discussion in Michigan, or making debates setting school board meetings on fire all over the nation, somehow these meetings have become windows into the soul of our nation.
Here locally in Minnesota, we all know things did not go well at the East Carver County School Board meeting on Sept. 27. Adults were seen grabbing each other. The meeting prompted a letter from the district saying, "as a result of safety concerns, police presence will be increased at our meetings."
However, the National School Board Association, an association that represents more than 90,000 school board members say local law enforcement is not enough.
In a letter penned to President Biden, the association asks, "the federal government [to] investigate, intercept and prevent the current threats and acts of violence against our public school officials through existing statutes, executive authority, interagency and intergovernmental task forces."
They also specifically called for "the resources of the U.S. Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of Investigation, U.S. Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Secret Service and its national threat assessment center."
The letter also goes as far as calling these acts against school elected officials as "a form of domestic terrorism."
In Henry County, Georgia, all but one of the school board members walked out after parents began shouting at each other. That one board member took the heat from parents, who said they didn't deserve to walk out.
However, walking out is sometimes the only thing these board members have left to do, as Stillwater Area School Board member Matt Onken did at the last school board meeting. That meeting also was not immune to vitriol.
Onken wrote in a resignation letter, "I find the current situation untenable, our community is a microcosm of our National Political scene where misinformation looms, trust comes at a premium and people use whatever information they want top fit their narrative."
He wrote, "I take no pride in this decision, but it is the right one for me at this time."
White House press secretary Jen Psaki said on Thursday that they are taking the threats against school board members seriously but said the protection of those elected officials need to come from local law enforcement. She called the incidents 'horrible.'
"They are going to be different law enforcement authorities related to each community where this is happening," Psaki said. "We'd certainly refer you to them for any specific threats, and we'd encourage individuals to report any threats they face to a local law enforcement agency and continuing to explore what could be done across the administration."