Gov. DeSantis cries foul after Justice Department orders FBI to target school board threats

DeSantis
'Attorney General Garland is weaponizing the DOJ by using the FBI to pursue concerned parents and silence them through intimidation.'

Gov. Ron DeSantis vowed Tuesday to defend Floridians after the Department of Justice ordered federal law enforcement to address the nation’s “disturbing spike” in threats against educators and school board members amid the pandemic.

The order, issued by U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland, comes after the National School Boards Association urged the federal government to address a reported rise of threats and harassment against educators.

In a letter, the organization warned President Joe Biden that educators are under “immediate threat” and need a federal intervention. Educators, the letter says, are facing backlash over school mask mandates and the “false inclusion” of critical race theory into curriculum.

The FBI will lead the response in concert with local law enforcement partners and prosecutors, according to Garland’s letter. The feds will also roll out a “series of additional efforts,” including a federal task force, in the coming days.

DeSantis characterized the order Tuesday as a chilling infringement.

“Attorney General Garland is weaponizing the DOJ by using the FBI to pursue concerned parents and silence them through intimidation,” the Governor said. “Florida will defend the free speech rights of its citizens and will not allow federal agents to squelch dissent.”

School boards have indeed become a political battleground amid the pandemic, with concerned parents packing meetings to address mask mandates, among other politically charged issues.

The Republican Governor’s statement drew a swift response from Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried, Florida’s sole statewide elected Democrat and a gubernatorial contender.

“Attorney General Garland is using law and order to protect children, parents, and teachers from crime,” Fried said. “Florida will continue to be embarrassed by Governor DeSantis and his contempt for the law and the safety of our children.”

The FBI and federal prosecutors plan to meet with federal, state and local leaders to discuss strategies within the next 30 days, according to Garland’s letter. They will also create a training guide to help school board members understand, report and preserve evidence of a threat.

“Threats against public servants are not only illegal, they run counter to our nation’s core values,” Garland wrote. “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’s letter marks the latest flashpoint between DeSantis and the Biden administration. Most recently, DeSantis accused Biden of playing politics with a preeminent COVID-19 treatment in Florida.

The Republican Governor and Biden have also jousted over immigration policy as well as vaccine and mask mandates in recent weeks.

Jason Delgado

Jason Delgado covers news out of the state capital for Florida Politics. After a stint with the U.S. Army, Jason attended the University of Central Florida where he studied American Policy and National Security. His past bylines include WMFE-NPR and POLITICO Florida. Throw him a line at [email protected] or on Twitter at @byJasonDelgado.


21 comments

  • Alex

    October 5, 2021 at 12:40 pm

    Yes Ronnie,

    Your insane endangering of kids health and lives for your dreams of being President is going to stop.

    Reply

    • Thomas D James

      October 7, 2021 at 3:02 pm

      yeah sure buddy. Flip Flop Charlie and Nikki “marijuana” Fried are gonna beat him? Maybe your BFF Gillum will be out of rehab by that time! LOL!

      Reply

  • Alex

    October 5, 2021 at 1:29 pm

    DeAnus and the Florida Legislature really hate kids;

    Updated: 12:09 PM EDT October 5, 2021
    TALLAHASSEE, Fla. —Florida schools are in jeopardy of losing more than $2.3 billion in federal funding, according to the U.S. Department of Education.
    That’s because the Florida Department of Education reportedly has failed to submit a plan for that money by the deadline.

    Got to keep em ignorant so they’re easier to indoctrinate into selfishness, hate, and Trumpism.

    https://www.wtsp.com/article/news/education/florida-school-federal-funding/67-8a72ea90-be94-45f3-a8af-39716752f628

    Reply

    • mike

      October 5, 2021 at 7:40 pm

      No kids? It shows.

      Reply

      • Alex

        October 5, 2021 at 7:51 pm

        My kids are well educated, and healthy no thanks to the radical DeathSantis cult.

        I feel sorry for yours.

        Reply

        • cvgmob

          October 6, 2021 at 8:09 am

          Your kids are indoctrinated losers that the rest of us feel sorry for. Idiots like you still wish you had the cheating (with male prostitutes no less) meth addict as governor.

          Reply

          • Alex

            October 6, 2021 at 6:06 pm

            Triggered angry cultist with nothing ^

    • Thomas D James

      October 7, 2021 at 3:03 pm

      we don’t want no Biden money with Marxist Communists strings attached. We are a RED state. Socialism doesn’t fly here.

      Reply

  • Tom Palmer

    October 5, 2021 at 1:45 pm

    If anyone is intimidating anyone, it is these uncivil folks who don’t know how to behave in public and yell and curse and get into people’s faces. The crackdown is overdue.

    Reply

    • Thomas D James

      October 7, 2021 at 3:04 pm

      isn’t that what Mad Max and the Democrats encouraged during the Trump years? What goes around comes around there comrade.

      Reply

  • Rusty Gallow

    October 5, 2021 at 2:13 pm

    sounds like a bunch of hands off parents. Should’ve used a condom.

    Reply

  • Dave Gorak

    October 5, 2021 at 4:38 pm

    Shouldn’t the FBI be doing what it does best, i.e. looking for evidence that the Russians are really behind these threats? Let’s ask Hillary and some of her friends who have connections with the Kremlin to get involved..

    Reply

    • Alex

      October 5, 2021 at 6:02 pm

      Why aren’t you down there working on the wall Mexico still hasn’t paid for yet?

      It’s not gonna build itself.

      Reply

  • Bill Stimes

    October 5, 2021 at 5:32 pm

    Left wing terror mobs and illegal aliens (funded by George Soros) harrassing senators on planes and in bathrooms is fine. Biden says that’s normal.
    Parents sick and tired of schools becoming liberal indoctrination camps for their children? Terrorists!

    Reply

    • Alex

      October 5, 2021 at 6:00 pm

      Soros!

      Drink!

      Reply

  • mike

    October 5, 2021 at 7:38 pm

    The teachers union must be running scared of parents and them actually getting involved in their kids education. OH MY!!!

    Reply

    • Alex

      October 5, 2021 at 7:53 pm

      You can homeschool, or send em to private school.

      You might even be able to get a voucher, but you still have to pay the difference.

      Reply

  • rass

    October 6, 2021 at 7:42 am

    No wonder his wife’s breast are rotten. God is punishing this Devil incarnate!

    Reply

    • Thomas D James

      October 7, 2021 at 3:07 pm

      I think you’re just jealous because you date guys with missing teeth who have confederate flags on their porch! Did your last batch of meth come out ok?

      Reply

    • Tom

      October 9, 2021 at 4:12 pm

      Rass, I mean ass. You are a disgusting pathetic being. So typical.

      You can crawl on the curb with the
      rest of the Manchurians.

      For you to reference the wonderful First Lady is gross.

      Alex, Frankie, and others will make room for you on the curb corner.

      Reply

  • Thomas D James

    October 7, 2021 at 3:06 pm

    Garland, DOJ and FBI are a joke. They couldn’t prosecute themselves out of a wet paper bag! The idiots never followed up on a number of credible threats that left 17 dead at MSD. Give em a bag of donuts, maybe the gumshoes will do better! LOL!

    Reply

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