State School Board Associations’ Responses to the NSBA Letter

Press Releases


On October 11, Parents Defending Education emailed 47 state school board associations for comment on the NSBA’s September 29 letter (Hawaii and Washington DC are not members of NSBA, and Virginia & Louisiana had already made public statements). We asked all organizations the following questions:

  1. As the [state association] has not yet commented on the National School Board Association’s September 29 letter to President Biden that requested federal intervention in local school board issues – which likened civic participation to “domestic terrorism and hate crimes” and cited the Patriot Act – Parents Defending Education would like to know whether your organization was involved in the creation of this letter and whether you agree with its substance and tone. If not, have you contacted the NSBA to let them know?
  2. Can you please tell us how, going forward, your organization defines “intimidation,” harassment,” and “threat”?
  3. Finally, do you plan to report individuals in your state to the U.S. Department of Justice – or do you believe that concerns can be adequately managed by local and state law enforcement?

This list will be updated as responses are received.

As of October 18, 18 states have distanced themselves from the NSBA’s letter: Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and Wyoming.

On October 18, California declined to respond.


Alabama: Letter sent October 8th to all members of the Alabama Association of School Boards (AASB) about the “NSBA controversy.”

Late last week the National School Boards Association (NSBA) issued a letter to President Joe Biden
requesting “Federal Assistance to Stop Threats and Acts of Violence Against Public School Children, Public School Board Members, and Other Public School District Officials and Educators.” The letter requests federal intervention of such incidents, suggesting some behavior could be hate crimes and domestic terrorism. In response to this letter, the U.S. Justice Department announced it was convening a task force, among other actions. The NSBA letter and the DOJ response have created a firestorm of comment in the media and on social media platforms.

AASB is extremely concerned about lack of civil discourse at board meetings and threats to public officials and school employees. We believe any criminal activity should be investigated by local law enforcement agencies; however, we do not believe there is a need for federal intervention at this juncture.

NSBA is a national association composed of state school board associations across the country. While the AASB is a member of NSBA, members were not consulted about the need for federal intervention nor are we aware of any state making that request. In fact, the letter is inconsistent with NSBA’s support for local control. The decision by NSBA to write this letter is not the first disagreement AASB has had with its national association. In fact, AASB is among at least a dozen states which are trying to impact essential changes in NSBA governance and policy. While AASB believes in working within the system for positive change and has been doing so for years, NSBA has been very slow to respond, so the AASB board is reevaluating the benefits of membership in NSBA. Alabama school leaders need a strong national voice and network, and if we believe that cannot be provided to you through membership in NSBA, AASB will explore other options.

We thought it important our members not only know where AASB stands on the letter, but also that our
concerns go beyond this incident.

We know you are leading in challenging times. AASB supports you in the difficult decisions you must make. There is great community interest – and in some cases – disagreement — with those decisions, but it is best that these decisions be made in — and by — the community. We applaud you for providing valuable and dedicated service to your community

Alaska: no response

Arizona: no response

Arkansas:

The Arkansas School Boards Association was not consulted by NSBA prior to the letter being sent and we disagree with much of the substance of the letter. School board meetings should be a place of communication, discourse and productive decision making for the betterment of students.  Board meetings should be locally governed and unhindered by outside intervention until at such time the district requests assistance. 

Districts define terms such as intimidation, harassment, and threat within the context of their own particular situations.  

The Arkansas School Boards Association is member oriented and only provides assistance at the request of local districts.  It is the decision of the local district whether or not to seek law enforcement assistance at the level they so choose. 

California:

On October 18, declined to respond.

Colorado: no response

Connecticut: no response

Delaware:

The DSBA has seen school board meeting protests, some of which have become quite impassioned, however we have received NO reports of violence or threats of violence toward school staff or school board members.  The DSBA does NOT condone violence or threats of violence toward students, staff or board members.  After consultation with the Governor’s office, the Public Health Department and the Delaware Department of Education the DSBA developed and issued guidance to school board presidents regarding how to best handle school board meeting protests, which included the ultimate use of LOCAL law enforcement if absolutely necessary.  This guidance was issued prior to the NSBA September 29 2021 letter.  The NSBA letter to President Biden was unnecessary and quite frankly not helpful.


The DSBA has communicated our concerns with the letter to the NSBA numerous times and in strong language.  We have made it clear to the NSBA that:

1.)  It was inappropriate for the NSBA to issue the September 29, 2021 letter to President Biden without first consulting with the DSBA, as well as other state school board associations.  Had the DSBA been consulted prior to the letter’s release, we would NOT have allowed the DSBA to be associated with the letter and we would have asked that the language “On behalf of our state associations and more than 90,000 school board members who govern our country’s 14,000 local public school districts…”  be changed to reflect that the DSBA does not support the letter and should not be generally included in it.

2.)  The DSBA disagrees, in the strongest possible terms, with parents and citizens protesting school board meetings being characterized as “domestic terrorists” and their protests being likened to “hate crimes”.  The DSBA firmly asserts that citizen and public engagement in school board meetings is an integral and vital aspect of school board governance.  We also made it clear that any attempt to silence citizens’ voices is a clear violation of their rights to free speech.

3.)  The DSBA is an apolitical advocacy organization, and we do not engage in partisan politics.  The DSBA Constitution prohibits the endorsement of political candidates, as we seek to focus on the needs of students and the communities served by our member school districts.

4.)  The September 29, 2021 NSBA letter to President Biden was a clear overreach on the part of the NSBA and it violates the fundamental principle of local authority, upon which the Delaware public education system is founded and structured.  Local authority includes the local school board governance of the district as well as the local citizens’ authority over the board and district, through participation in board meetings, electing board members, as well as voting on taxation referenda. 

 
The Delaware School Boards Association remains focused on the work of advocating for the needs of students and public education in general.  We will not be distracted by the NSBA’s departure from proper and prudent boardsmanship. 

Florida: letter sent to NSBA on October 11

I am writing to you today on behalf of the Board of Directors of the Florida School Boards Association (FSBA) to voice our concern of the letter the National School Boards Association (NSBA) sent to President Joe Biden dated September 29, 2021, without consultation of our association or your own board of directors. FSBA strongly encourages a review of NSBA leadership and its processes, as well as urges a public acknowledgement of the federal overreach expressed in your letter.

Several elements of your letter run counter to the tenets embraced by the FSBA, and this communication has caused serious concerns, conflict, and consternation for many of our members within the FSBA. Not only has it unnecessarily distracted from the important work being carried out by our members, it has strained important local and state collaborative relationships our members have worked hard to build and maintain for years. This includes our Governor, Legislature, local law enforcement, communities, and our members questioning our commitment to the First Amendment rights of citizens, which we believe is the bedrock of democracy and would always protect.

Let us be clear, the safety of our members and the public through the affirmation, value, and local control of school districts, is a top priority. We are extremely concerned about alarming incidents and comments which extend beyond civil civic discourse, directed at school board members in Florida. Illegal acts, violence, and intimidation of any public officials should not be tolerated, and our districts will continue to work closely and collaborate with local law enforcement to effectively address these and other issues of public safety if and when they arise. We respect our local and state law enforcement agencies and will continue to rely heavily on them to ensure all participants in our school board meetings are safe and secure.

We also both encourage and welcome parents, as well as other concerned citizens into our school board meetings to engage in lively, respectful, and civil civic discourse. We respect Florida’s open meeting laws, invite disparate beliefs to be shared, and believe hearing from passionate stakeholders is a sign of a healthy community engagement. We will continue to provide a safe environment for all stakeholders to exchange views; thereby, ensuring parents’ voices are heard when it comes to decisions about their children’s education and safety.

Over the last 18 months, communities have demanded strong local leadership, and school boards have been there every step of the way to address issues of student learning gaps, teacher shortages, student and staff mental health, and robust educational outcomes. Rather than needlessly inserting division into the national dialogue, we should be focusing on these critical elements to a robust public education system. In Florida, we intend to do just that by continuing to demonstrate the leadership our communities require.

As you are aware, we did not submit payment for 2020-2021 dues, which were due July 1, 2021. We have been clear about reassessing the value of our affiliation with NSBA due to concerns surrounding NSBA’s governance, leadership, transparency, and failure to embrace non-partisanship. Due to the fact we have not seen the changes we would have expected given the number of states, who are your members and have expressed these and similar concerns, nor have we received any promised plan or timeline to accomplish these changes, we will continue to withhold our dues until further notice.

If we are to ever again have a strong national federation, it must be one that eschews rhetoric, avoids partisanship, collaborates with its members, and focuses its energies on intentional impact. It must reinforce the role families and communities play in public education and underscore the importance of local school boards. It must spend its energies and efforts focused on issues and events, information, and policies that unite rather than divide. It must prioritize high governance standards and follow them.

Georgia:

The Georgia School Boards Association (GSBA) was not consulted about this letter, did not provide information to NSBA, and was not informed that the letter was being sent, even though a Georgia school district was used as an example in the letter.

GSBA supports the constitutional authority of local boards to manage and control the public schools of this state. Elected officials and appointed leadership who are closest to the community are best suited to make those decisions, especially the hard ones.

GSBA and its 180 local board of education members also strongly support the principle that parents are a vital part of the public education process. Local boards in Georgia work very hard to listen to parents and other members of the community and to work as a collaborative team for the safety and achievement of all students.

There is no justification for physical or verbal threats directed against them, their staff and certainly not the students.  Nor is there any excuse for disrupting a public meeting.  When such unfortunate events occur, the local officials, working with local law enforcement, must deal with the situation appropriately.  While we look for support to our state and federal governments, we do not seek the involvement of federal law enforcement or other officials in local decisions.

Hawaii: not a member of NSBA

Idaho: statement issued on October 13:

The Idaho School Boards Association Executive Board would like to issue a formal response
regarding our participation – or, lack thereof – in the National School Boards Association
September 29, 2021 request to President Biden for federal intervention regarding threats,
intimidation, and harassment towards locally elected school board members.
ISBA was never asked to provide input nor were we informed that the letter was being sent.
Despite that, it had the appearance of carrying the endorsement of every state association and
its members. Had we been asked, we would have readily pointed out the mischaracterization of parents and patrons in our communities as domestic terrorists who merited federal investigation. We want parents and patrons engaged in our public schools – we have sought that for years.
ISBA values local control and believes situations that require intervention are better handled by
a locally controlled operation close to our communities. While we look for support to our state
and federal governments, we do not seek the involvement of federal law enforcement in local
decisions.
We would be doing a disservice to our members, however, if we did not point out the disruptive
and – at times, frightening – behavior that has shown up in school board meetings in Idaho and
across the country. There is no justification for physical or verbal threats directed against school
board members, their staff, and certainly not the students. Leadership requires tough decisions
and uncomfortable conversations. Serving on a school board is not a popularity contest, and
certain decisions are almost guaranteed to be unpopular to some portions of our communities.
ISBA was founded on and continues to support the authority of local boards to govern the public
schools of this state. Elected officials and appointed leadership who are closest to the
community are best suited to make those decisions.

We are all tired. Parents are tired. Teachers and school staff are tired. School board members
and administrators are tired. The sooner we recognize that we all want the same thing, the
faster we can emerge from divisive tactics and be the leaders our children deserve. Our number
one priority is keeping students safely in school and engaged for in-person learning. We call on
the citizens of Idaho to exude qualities of leadership – including ethical and civic-minded
rhetoric, respect, and the mutual understanding that we’re all showing up for the benefit of
children in our communities.

Illinois: no response

Indiana: no response

Iowa: no response

Kansas: no response

Kentucky: statement issued on October 11

The National School Boards Association (NSBA) has made headlines in recent days for its publicly released letter to President Biden. The letter, signed only by NSBA’s current president and interim executive director, included examples of threats, intimidation and acts of violence against school board members and other school personnel. The letter suggested the “actions could be the equivalent to a form of domestic terrorism and hate crimes” and requested federal intervention. Following the release of this letter, United States Attorney General Merrick Garland issued a memorandum committing the U.S. Justice Department to launch  “a series of measures designed to address the rise in criminal conduct directed toward school personnel.”  

KSBA was not informed of or asked for any input into the creation of this letter.

The NSBA position and request do not reflect the considered opinion of KSBA.  We believe strongly in the value of local control. Engaging with local constituents is a hallmark of democracy and disagreement expressed publicly is not new for school board members. The weight that accompanies the important decisions boards regularly make will often attract opposition and it is through this public discourse that understanding can be realized. The setting of tax rates, facility planning, closure/consolidation of schools and adoption of board policies are just a few of the issues that are prone to heated discussion. Understandably, passions run high over decisions that ultimately have major impact on our children and their futures. School boards do not take those decisions lightly, nor do they shy away from the difficult work that must be done. Board members recognize that not all disagreement constitutes disorder, however, public attendance and participation should not interfere with the board’s ability to conduct its business or create a hostile or dangerous environment for anyone involved. 

From ongoing discussions with member districts and news reports, KSBA is aware of incidents throughout the state in which local board meetings have been disrupted. KSBA is also aware of instances when individuals have acted inappropriately, and in some cases illegally, toward school boards, their members, and district personnel. These behaviors are troubling, and their seriousness should not be diminished. Thankfully, they appear to represent the isolated actions of a small number of people. Illegal acts, violence and intimidation of any public officials will not be tolerated, and districts will continue to work closely with local law enforcement to address issues of public safety.  

With the recent spike in school board meeting attendance, public comment and local advocacy, many districts are embracing the opportunity to engage with their communities on a deeper level. They are making this a teachable moment about local district governance; the role of school boards, school-based decision making councils (SBDMs), the state Department of Education and our legislature in Frankfort. While district leaders are feeling intense pressure, the historic increase in scrutiny of education policy (and our policymakers) may bear fruit in the form of a more informed citizenry.  

KSBA has the utmost respect for the school boards, administrators, educators and staff of Kentucky’s system of common schools. Through the trying uncertainty of the pandemic, the resolve and collective strength demonstrated by those entrusted with the instruction and care of our 650,000 public school students has never been more evident. We know our members are leading in challenging times and we applaud each of them for providing this valuable service to your community. 

KSBA’s leadership is currently evaluating the benefits of continued membership in NSBA. We will continue to closely monitor the situation, watching for much needed corrective action from NSBA’s leadership and a renewed commitment to transparency. 
– Kerri Schelling, KSBA Executive Director  

Louisiana: statement issued on October 4

The National School Boards Association (NSBA) issued a letter last week to President Biden requesting federal assistance regarding threats and disruptive incidents occurring at school board meetings across the nation. Typically, the Louisiana School Boards Association (LSBA) does not address action by the NSBA nor Washington D.C. politics but feel it necessary to update our membership about NSBA’s recent request.

The LSBA was not consulted about the content of the letter. The LSBA does not agree with NSBA’s action. Our concern is that NSBA’s request and description of events is not a universal occurrence at all school boards, it fails to align with the standards of good governance, and it discourages active participation in the governance process. The NSBA’s request represents a huge step backwards in the collective advocacy efforts carried out by LSBA and other state associations in protecting and preserving openness, transparency, and local autonomy.

Local school boards should encourage and make every effort to enhance public participation and engagement during school board meetings. There are times when discourse may be challenging to navigate but open discourse is a necessary course to chart in public service. However, threats are never an appropriate response. Such threats should always be taken seriously and reported to the appropriate authority. If you are concerned with personal safety or safety at school board meetings, please reach out to local law enforcement for guidance and/or assistance.

The LSBA, along with other state associations, is now evaluating the future of our affiliation with NSBA. The LSBA has long been a member of the NSBA but has not yet paid membership dues for the 2021-2022 year. The LSBA team will meet with its Board of Directors to determine how to best address this situation and reevaluate the benefits of continued membership in the NSBA.

The LSBA thanks our school board members for their public service and for working on behalf of students, parents, and communities across our state. Thank you for allowing the LSBA to advocate on your behalf. We look forward to continuing to work together to move public education forward in Louisiana.

Maine: no response

Maryland: no response

Massachusetts: no response

Michigan: no response

Minnesota: no response

Mississippi: statement issued on October 6

Last week, the Interim Executive Director and President of the National School Boards Association (NSBA) sent a letter to President Joe Biden expressing concern about the recent conflict situations at school board meetings across the country. The NSBA letter requested federal assistance to stop threats and acts of violence against students, public school board members, and other school district officials and educators. The letter was sent without knowledge, input or approval from the Mississippi School Boards Association (MSBA).
MSBA does not support the action taken by NSBA. Hearing from passionate stakeholders can be a sign of healthy community engagement. NSBA’s action is counter-productive to board efforts to engage parents and other stakeholders in the activities of the district and to our efforts to solicit stakeholder input and support.
The terminology used in the letter was inflammatory and has created great dissension, much unproductive discussion, and a rise of distrust in public school board members and educators. The action does not account for the ability of the school board leadership and the school district leadership to resolve problems at the local level and actually takes away from the local control that we have so long advocated for and value so highly. 
As you know, navigating political issues at the board level, district level, state level, and national level is a continuing challenge, but one which our boards work diligently to resolve. 
As Executive Director, I will be discussing this matter with the MSBA Board of Directors to determine how to best address the situation and to seek their support for writing a letter to the NSBA Interim Executive Director requesting immediate remedy to the situation which has resulted.

Missouri:

MSBA is not a subsidiary of the National School Boards Association. We are entirely separate entities. NSBA does not have any governance control over our organization.  By that same token, MSBA was not consulted nor given the opportunity to advise on the NSBA letter to the White House. We were disappointed with the NSBA letter and have clearly expressed our disagreement to them in no uncertain terms.

We absolutely and unequivocally believe in the First Amendment rights of parents and all citizens to speak freely and petition their governments. We appreciate the passion parents and others have for Missouri’s schools and the children we are serving.  We encourage that passion and must create safe opportunities for voices to be heard.

At our core, the Missouri School Boards’ Association is dedicated to the concept of local control. In Missouri, our local law enforcement is authorized to address threats and ensure the safety of our students, teachers and elected officials. It is the jurisdiction of the local law enforcement in Missouri to capably handle these situations and to seek additional law enforcement support, if that’s ever needed. We respect their role and thank them for working to protect safe forums for school board meetings, allowing our community members’ voices to be heard.

Montana: statement issued on October 5

The Montana School Boards Association has long maintained membership in the National School Boards Association. Although we have often agreed with NSBA’s positions in advocating on behalf of elected school boards, students and families in the Nation’s public schools, we respectfully disagree with NSBA’s recent decision to request federal assistance to stop threats and acts of violence against public schoolchildren, public school board members, and other public school district officials. NSBA did not consult the Montana School Boards Association before it issued its request. 

MTSBA member community elected school boards in Montana have certainly experienced more than their fair share of criticism, including protests of public health measures they have implemented to control the spread of COVID-19 and to protect the health and safety of students, families and staff. Finding the middle ground and balancing between the strong opinions from multiple sides of any given debate has been a challenge.  Our elected leaders and their staff, however, have more than risen to that challenge, going to significant lengths to ensure the right of students, families, staff and other community members to know and have a say in the difficult decisions they have made on these issues. 

Has the input of everyone been civil? Unfortunately, not. Have there been occasions when individual behavior has crossed the line and strayed toward implied or explicit threats of violence? Unfortunately, yes. However, the overwhelming majority of those taking part in school board meetings and protests have done so peacefully, respectfully and lawfully.

We cannot speak to what is happening in other states and we are in no position to second guess efforts or needs in those states to protect public safety. In Montana, however, we have full trust and confidence in the civility of constituents, the sincerity and good intentions of those providing input and trusted local law enforcement to address any isolated criminal issues that may arise.

Nebraska: no response

Nevada: no response

New Hampshire:

The New Hampshire School Boards Association was not consulted before the letter/press release was sent by the National School Boards Association to President Biden regarding disruptions at school board meetings. NHSBA was not consulted, was not asked to opine, and was not asked to provide input.

New Jersey: no response

New Mexico: no response

New York: no response

North Carolina:

The NC School Boards Association had no role in creating the National School Boards Association’s letter to President Biden—we were not privy to any drafts of or conversations about the letter prior to its release. The Association does not agree with the tone or language in the letter nor the request for federal agencies to intervene in our communities.  I have written to both NSBA President Garcia and NSBA Interim Executive Director Chip Slaven conveying the Association’s disagreement with the letter’s tone and contents. 

NCSBA strongly believes that students, parents, and community members should and need to be able to voice their opinions to their elected officials.  However, there should be no place in our public discourse for criminal acts, such as bringing weapons to school board meetings, destruction of public and private property, and death threats.   Unfortunately, we have seen examples of all these things in recent months and weeks in North Carolina.   We have shared with school districts that any criminal acts should immediately be reported to local law enforcement, which is best equipped to handle such situations and determine if they need further assistance.  In the same vein, I believe it is best left to law enforcement to determine what constitutes intimidation, harassment, and threats.

North Dakota: no response

Ohio:

OSBA was unaware of the NSBA letter before its distribution.  We did not ask for the letter or vet it.  We certainly do not approve of many aspects.  OSBA believes strongly in parental engagement, the value of our partnerships with local law enforcement and rejects the labeling of parents as domestic terrorists. A letter was recently sent to all of Ohio’s school boards, superintendents and treasurers to clarify our perspective.  We have also made our dissatisfaction known to the NSBA governing board and staff.
The OSBA board of trustees will be discussing our membership and relationship with NSBA at our next meeting of our Board of Trustees in November.  

Oklahoma: no response

Oregon: no response

Pennsylvania: On Thursday, Oct. 14, 2021, the Pennsylvania Schools Boards Association released a statement that it voted to withdraw from the National School Boards Association. The Pennsylvania Schools Boards Association gave no response to PDE’s email, but statement provided to the Delaware Valley Journal by Annette Stevenson, chief communications officer:

The Pennsylvania School Boards Association was not consulted prior to the letter being sent by the National School Boards Association to President Biden. We were not asked for input nor discussion on its content.

PSBA has always encouraged local school boards to welcome input and remarks from community members and all stakeholders, and Pennsylvania has a long history of relying on local school district control to ensure that the will of the community and parents is best represented. PSBA is strongly averse to the lack of civility and violence being witnessed in some districts, and we support that local districts need to be able to work with their local and regional law enforcement to address such safety concerns.

Rhode Island: no response

South Carolina: no response

South Dakota: no response

Tennessee:

The Tennessee School Boards Association (TSBA) is not a member of the National School Boards Association (NSBA). TSBA believes that parental and family involvement in the education of each child is essential to academic success.  Local boards of education should make every effort to enhance communication between parents and schools and remove any barriers that prevent them from teaming with school boards, administrators, and teachers to improve student achievement. NSBA’s advocacy efforts are focused more on contentious issues that divide their membership instead of educational issues that should further the mission of their members.

Texas:

In response to your inquiry about the National School Board Association’s September 29, 2021 letter to the Biden Administration, we respectfully respect that you direct specific questions related to the letter to the NSBA. TASB was not consulted nor involved in the development of the NSBA letter.

Here at TASB we strongly believe in local governance. Our position has always been that school board meetings should be places where parents and community members are welcomed and provided the opportunity to openly share their opinions and concerns on how the schools in their community are being governed.

To this end, we provide extensive resources and training to our members, so school boards not only exceed the legal requirements of the Open Meetings Act, but also authentically nurture school communities where parent and community voices are welcomed.

It’s natural that community members across a state as large and diverse as Texas are going to have different opinions on important K-12 issues. We think this diversity of opinion — and the ability to express it openly—makes us strong.

Utah: no response

Vermont: no response

Virginia: statement issued on October 6

Late last week the National School Boards Association (NSBA) issued a letter to President Joe Biden requesting, “Federal Assistance to Stop Threats and Acts of Violence Against Public School Children, Public School Board Members, and Other Public School District Officials and Educators.”  The letter was accompanied by a press release and has been the subject of comment in the press and on social media.

NSBA is a national association composed of the state school boards associations from each of the states in the country.  While the Virginia School Boards Association (VSBA) is currently a member of NSBA, it was not consulted about this letter, did not provide information to NSBA, and was not informed that the letter was being sent. The decision by NSBA to write this letter is not the first disagreement that VSBA has had with its national association and probably will not be the last, but it is important that our members and the citizens of this state know where VSBA stands. 

VSBA is aware that local school board members are under an increased level of scrutiny and pressure involving several issues and that holding this elected/appointed position has required school board members and their school administrators to make difficult decisions on behalf of students.  Given the nature of the issues, it is not possible to make decisions which all community members will agree, and that disagreement has been expressed in public meetings and on social media.  These decisions are not always popular and are almost guaranteed to be unpopular to some portion of the community. VSBA was founded on and continues to support the constitutional authority of local boards to manage and control the public schools of this state. Elected officials and appointed leadership who are closest to the community are best suited to make those decisions. 

VSBA and its 132 local school division members recognize the vital role parents play in the education of their children and within the school community. Local boards in Virginia work very hard to listen to parents and other members of the community and to work as a collaborative team for the safety and achievement of all students. We must all work together to ensure a safe and nurturing learning environment for students.

Those citizens who serve on Virginia’s local school boards deserve our thanks.  There is no justification for physical or verbal threats directed against them, their staff and certainly not the students.  Nor is there any excuse for disrupting a public meeting.  When such unfortunate events occur, the local officials, working with local law enforcement, must deal with the situation appropriately.  While we look for support to our state and federal governments, we do not seek the involvement of federal law enforcement or other officials in local decisions.

We at VSBA appreciate the work of school board members and superintendents and we exist to support that work. We realize the past year and half has been more challenging than ever before. Thanks for all that you do. 

Washington: no response

Washington DC: not a member of NSBA

West Virginia: no response

Wisconsin: no response

Wyoming:

I would like to let you know that the Wyoming School Boards Association had no role in drafting or disseminating the letter from the National School Boards Association to President Biden. We were not consulted and did not contribute to its contents. The first we saw of this communication was as it was sent. We regret that we did not have the opportunity to review the letter or be involved in discussions about the specific content of the letter prior to its release. We object to the tone and the language contained in this letter.


Wyoming tends to be a strong proponent of local control. That means that we tend to think that the government closest to the people governs the best. We believe that our elected leaders need to hear from the communities that they govern. We value the voices of our parents and our communities. We value civil discourse and feedback that helps us to improve the educational opportunities for our students. We believe that citizens have a duty to be civil in their discourse and their interactions with government leaders. Most instances in Wyoming have been civil. Unfortunately, there have been some instances where individuals have not acted in a civil manner. There is no place in our public discourse for behavior that is outside of the limits set by the law. Any criminal behavior, including but not limited to violence, threats, harassment, or intimidation, should not be tolerated. We have seen instances of some of these things in Wyoming.  We believe that local law enforcement is best suited to respond to these criminal acts.


We do reject any form of violence for political ends at school board meetings. Civil discourse is a bedrock of our representative form of government. We believe that our local law enforcement agencies are generally the best partners for our local school boards to address the safety and security needs for their districts. As such, we believe it best for law enforcement to determine what constitutes intimidation, harassment, or threats. Those who fail to adhere to the law should face appropriate consequences.