According to a report from the Daily Caller, FBI Director Christopher Wray said FBI agents “would not be attending school board meetings” during an October speech. Wray “made it clear” that agents would not be infiltrating school board meetings and that the Bureau “would stay in its own lane”, a former FBI agent who watched the speech told the Daily Caller. The speech came just a couple weeks after U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland announced he would be forming task forces across multiple organizations, including the FBI, in order to combat threats from “domestic terrorists,” which is how he characterized parents voicing their concern at school board meetings.
Cecil Moses, a retired FBI special agent and former police chief in Alabama, attended the national conference for the Society of Former Special Agents of the FBI in Scottsdale Arizona last month. Wray reportedly met with former agents on October 22 and assured them the FBI would not be monitoring school board meetings. “He made it clear he didn’t want it to be any misconception, that there’s going to be FBI agents out there looking over the shoulder of parents or monitoring school board meetings and the like,” Moses told the Daily Caller. “He made the comment that the Bureau will stay in his own lane and I think that’s a very, very cogent comment.”
AG Garland issued a memorandum on the subject on October 4 at the urging of the National School Boards Association (NSBA). In a September 29 letter, the group implored the Biden administration to use federal law enforcement in order to investigate and prosecute parents who voiced their displeasure at public school board meetings. The NSBA suggested that said parents “could be” guilty of “domestic terrorism” and asked for “joint collaboration among federal law enforcement agencies” in order to address “these threats.”
Following intense backlash over the letter and Garland’s subsequent action, the NSBA apologized for and disavowed the letter. Several states have already opted to distance themselves from the NSBA following the incident, however, including Alabama, Wisconsin and Kentucky, among others. Several other states are reportedly mulling similar moves, including Arizona, where 22 state legislators signed a letter urging the Arizona School Boards Association to end their affiliation with the NSBA. In the U.S. House, 19 Republican Reps. signed a letter demanding that Merrick Garland withdraw his memorandum and end any task forces associated with monitoring parents at school board meetings.
Despite Wray’s comments and backlash against the PSBA, Garland has refused to rescind his letter. Some parents have alleged that FBI agents have already been monitoring them and infiltrating their circles. In Fairfax County, Virginia, a mother said federal agents had monitored her local school board meeting after she and other parents protested outside the Department of Justice following Garland’s directives.