There have been some heated school board meetings in recent days.
After all, parents around the country are upset with mask mandates, the unwillingness of school boards to listen to their complaints, and exposure of their children to pornographic materials and critical race theory.
So, naturally, parents have gotten mad. So mad that sometimes a school board feels the need to send its police force to the parents’ homes to arrest them.
Welcome to Round Rock, Texas, where the Round Rock Independent School District decided that its police department — designed to handle on-campus issues — should go out into the city and arrest a couple of men who confronted the school board, according to the City Journal, a publication of the conservative Manhattan Institute for Policy Research.
We live in a very normal country where school boards can send cops to your house to arrest you and the FBI views parents as terrorists https://t.co/O3SSr2XNiP
— Pedro L. Gonzalez (@emeriticus) November 17, 2021
In an August school board meeting Jeremy Story, a minister, produced what he said was evidence the Round Rock school superintendent, Hafedh Azaiez, had assaulted a mistress, City Journal reported. Azaiez cut Story off in mid-sentence and had police remove him from the room.
In September, Dustin Clark, a retired Army captain, and other parents objected to being locked out of a school board meeting and unable to speak on the district’s mask mandate. There was also a tax issue, according to Chronicles, a magazine published by the Rockford Institute, a conservative think tank based in Rockford, Illinois.
But Board President Amy Weir responded by ordering police to remove Clark.
But it didn’t end there. A few days later, the school board sent its police to the homes of Story and Clark to arrest them on charges of disorderly conduct and disruption of a meeting.
They spent a night in jail, with supporters holding an all-night vigil outside.
While the RRISD incident is extreme, similar things are going on around the country.
In the Washington, D.C., suburb of Fairfax County, Virginia, parents recently were greeted with a fleet of law enforcement vehicles in the parking lot for the school board meeting, along with a circling helicopter shining a spotlight down on them.
In nearby Loudoun County, Virginia, the school superintendent wanted the sheriff to bring in riot control officers, a SWAT team and undercover agents to deal with parents, City Journal reported. Sheriff Mike Chapman wisely refused.
Although he attempted to back-pedal his efforts when grilled by Republican senators, Attorney General Merrick Garland in October issued a nationwide letter to law enforcement officials warning them to be on the lookout for “harassment, intimidation and threats of violence” against school officials.
In an Oct. 28 hearing, Republican Sen. Josh Hawley of Missouri accused Garland of, in effect, creating an environment in which prosecutors, according to a memo from the U.S. attorney in Montana, could go after parents for crimes of “making annoying phone calls” or for “using the internet … in ways that might cause emotional distress.”
A backdrop of the nationwide parent-school board conflicts was Garland’s moving forward with the accusation by the National School Boards Association that parents were functioning as “domestic terrorists,” a charge the association later rescinded and for which it offered an apology.
Yet, the feds seem to be hardly on the side of parents.
Things are heated, to be sure. But if anyone has ever been to, say, a city council meeting dealing with a controversial zoning ordinance or some such thing, sometimes tempers flare and voices are raised.
For a public official, it comes with the territory — one moment you’re a hero, basking in the glory of your position and respect, the next moment you’re a bum with constituents yelling at you.
And with school boards, things are notched up. After all, our kids are involved and there can be a lot of momma bears — and daddy bears, too, like Story and Clark.
For instance, most parents are not happy about their kids being exposed to pornography. Concerned Kathy May, mother of four, learned Texas’ Keller Independent School District had “Gender Queer: a Memoir” in its library, and she tweeted about it, according to Chronicles.
The school district, pleading ignorance of the book’s graphic portrayals, removed it, but parents continue to simmer, suggesting there should be laws to prosecute school officials in such situations.
Also, the pressures of COVID — like masks and perhaps job losses from vaccination mandates — add to the parent-school conflict.
So tempers flare, and admittedly some parents cross the line and, despite attempts to rein them in, act like leftists — as evidenced by in-your-face actions regarding mask mandates made against school officials in August in Williamson County, Tennessee.
For their part, school boards, other government officials and the mainstream media don’t help their causes by ignoring the concerns of parents and, worse, by abusing them. Maybe as parents vent, school officials should listen and try to respond.
Unless, of course, they believe, like unsuccessful Virginia gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe that parents should not tell schools what to teach.
In recent years we’ve learned so many things about the destructive forces of the left: The deep state machinations against a sitting president, Donald Trump; the incompetence or deliberate destructiveness of the Biden administration; the corruption of science in the COVID situation; and now, the weaponization of law enforcement — including at the highest levels — against parents concerned for their children.
The message of some school administrations to parents is becoming clear: Don’t mess with us, or we’ll come after you.
Regarding the situation of himself and Clark, Story has said, according to City Journal: “This isn’t just about Dustin and me. It is about everyone. If they can come for us and get away with it, school boards nationwide will be emboldened to come for you.”
Rational and well-spoken, Mr. Story.
And it gives us a chance to make a slight revision to what the oft-quoted German Lutheran pastor, Martin Niemoller, said about the Nazis: “First, they came for the parents who went to the school board meeting …”
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.