Iowa Association of School Boards ‘respectfully disagrees’ with NSBA, but has not decided if it will leave organization referencing parents at school board meetings as domestic terrorists

The National School Boards Association has seen at least 18 state school boards associations distance themselves from the NSBA. This is in response to a Sept. 29 letter from the NSBA to President Joe Biden, which compared civic participation to “domestic terrorism and hate crimes” and referenced the Patriot Act.

“The NSBA respectfully asks for federal law enforcement and other assistance to deal with the growing number of threats of violence and acts of intimidation occurring across the nation,” the letter states. “As these acts of malice, violence and threats against public school officials have increased, the classification of these heinous actions could be the equivalent to a form of domestic terrorism and hate crimes.”

School board associations from Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and Wyoming have all distanced themselves from the national group.

Iowa is not on that list.

Last week, however, the Iowa Association of School Boards issued a statement on the NSBA’s request for federal assistance regarding threats and acts of violence.

“IASB respectfully disagrees with NSBA’s recent decision to request intervention from federal agencies and law enforcement, and the decision by NSBA leadership to tie the request to claims of domestic terrorism and hate crimes,” the statement says. “NSBA did not consult IASB before it issued its request.”

The statement adds that Iowa school boards “value and care deeply” about parent views on issues affecting children.

“School boards are providing forums for public opinion, including civil dissent, as part of full and fair deliberation on public issues,” the statement said. “Iowans are largely highly civil, even in heated discussions of controversial issues.”

IASB said local law enforcement has been “effective” in addressing any isolated criminal threats or incidents.

“IASB government relations staff will be carefully monitoring the ensuing federal actions and working with our Congressional representatives to ensure that any federal action protects the rights of Iowa citizens to have a voice in their public schools,” the statement says. “As always, IASB staff will also continue communicating with state lawmakers.”

The Iowa Standard asked IASB if it is planning or considering leaving the national organization.

“The IASB Board of Directors has not taken a position on that issue at this time,” said Tammy Votava, the communications director for IASB.

Author: Jacob Hall