DOJ - Memorandum concerning the escalating violence towards teachers, school administrators -updated with NSBA letter to President Biden

In the recent weeks - the actual threat of violence has escalated to engaging in assaultive attack by parents on actual teachers - and school administrators.

  • On August 11, 2021 in Tennessee, specifically Franklin County TN - parents went off and when other parents voiced their support of the school system’s implementation of CDC Guidance 1concerning masks …“we know where you live, we will find you…”

  • August 13, 2021 - NBC News reported that a California elementary school teacher had been hospitalized over injuries sustained during a violent attack by a parent

  • on August 18, 2021 in Austin Texas - a teacher was physically attacked by parents -who ripped her face masks off her face

  • on August 25, 2021 -Fort Lauderdale High School parent Dan Bauman assaulted a student over the school's mask mandate on Wednesday. He's been charged with aggravated child abuse.

  • On August 31, 2021 - Lee County FL - on live TV parents decided to start throwing punches at each other —did I mention this occurred on a live TV

  • In September 2021 Earnes ISD (Texas has independent school districts) - the Superintendent sent a letter to parents disclosing that a teacher had been assaulted;

    • parent physically assaulted a teacher by ripping a mask off her face, others yelling at a teacher to take off her mask because they could not understand what the teacher was saying while her face was covered.

    • This type of behavior will not be tolerated in Eanes ISD. Our staff are on the front lines of this pandemic; let’s give them some space and grace. Please, I am asking everyone to be kind...do not fight mask wars in our schools. 

  • September 4, 2021 - in Arizona Mesquite Elementary School principal Diane Vargo -the emails and messages sent to her by irate parents —which ultimately resulted in the arrest of three men/parents…

    1. Frank Tainatongo- cited and released on a minor trespassing charge on Monday, Sept. 6.

    2. Kelly Walker - was also cited and released on a misdemeanor trespassing charge. Walker is known in the community to be outspoken against vaccines and mask mandates.

    3. Rishi Rambaran - first arrested previously on a trespassing charge stemming from the incident

“The next time it will be a barrel pointed at your Nazi face. Following the guidance you say? The Nazis were just following orders too. Guess we will have to see what side you choose. The Americans or the Nazis. Remember Tucson is a small community and you have a target on your back for enforcing unlawful orders.”

“…15 minutes later two more men barged into my office, just walked right in and one of them had a phone out and was recording everything again and then the other man was standing in my doorway with military grade back zip ties in his hands,”

September 29, 2021 NSBA letter asking for Federal Help;

Federal Assistance to Stop Threats and Acts of Violence Against Public Schoolchildren, Public School Board Members, and Other Public School District Officials and Educators. The letter reads in part:

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. As such, NSBA requests a joint expedited review by the U.S. Departments of Justice, Education, and Homeland Security, along with the appropriate training, coordination, investigations, and enforcement mechanisms from the FBI, including any technical assistance necessary from, and state and local coordination with, its National Security Branch and Counterterrorism Division, as well as any other federal agency with relevant jurisdictional authority and oversight. Additionally, NSBA requests that such review examine appropriate enforceable actions against these crimes and acts of violence under the Gun-Free School Zones Act, the PATRIOT Act in regards to domestic terrorism, the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, the Violent Interference with Federally Protected Rights statute, the Conspiracy Against Rights statute, an Executive Order to enforce all applicable federal laws

Moreover the NSBA included several dozen of such violent incidents targeting teachers and school administrators. FFS the parents are worse than actual school bullies…you children are watching you behave in an absolutely disgusting and unacceptable conduct. You are the parent. You are the adults. Start acting like it because you’re setting an egregious example for your own children.

Again you can read the full six page letter from the NSBA to President Biden, found here. Because I am willing to go out on a limb and say this letter might have been the straw that broke the camel’s back and thus causing the DOJ —specifically Attorney General Garland’s recent memorandum. Which is discusses more thoroughly below….

The Department of Justice and Memorandum

The October 4, 2021 OPA-Press Release reads in part:

  • the Justice Department will launch a series of additional efforts in the coming days designed to address the rise in criminal conduct directed toward school personnel.

  • Those efforts are expected to include the creation of a task force, consisting of representatives from the department’s Criminal Division, National Security Division, Civil Rights Division, the Executive Office for U.S. Attorneys, the FBI, the Community Relations Service and the Office of Justice Programs…

    • ..to determine how federal enforcement tools can be used to prosecute these crimes, and ways to assist state, Tribal, territorial and local law enforcement where threats of violence may not constitute federal crimes.

  • DOJ plans to also create specialized training and guidance for local school boards and school administrators.

    • help school board members and other potential victims understand the type of behavior that constitutes threats,

    • how to report threatening conduct to the appropriate law enforcement agencies, and

    • how to capture and preserve evidence of threatening conduct to aid in the investigation and prosecution of these crimes.

Threats against public servants are not only illegal, they run counter to our nation's core values. 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.

The Department takes these incidents seriously and is committed to using its authority and resources to discourage these threats, identify them when they occur, and prosecute them when appropriate. In the coming days, the Department will announce a series of measures designed to address the rise in criminal conduct directed toward school personnel.

…I am directing the Federal Bureau of Investigation, working with each United States Attorney, to convene meetings…

…Coordination and partnership with local law enforcement is critical to implementing these measures for the benefit of our nation's nearly 14,000 public school districts. To this end, I am directing the Federal Bureau of Investigation, working with each United States Attorney, to convene meetings with federal, state, local, Tribal, and territorial leaders in each federal judicial district within 30 days ofthe issuance ofthis memorandum.

…In the coming days, the Department will announce a series of measures designed to address the rise in criminal conduct directed toward school personnel…

Threats of violence against school board members, officials, and workers and other public servants, can be reported:

  • to the FBI’s National Threat Operations Center (NTOC) via its national tip line (1-800-CALL-FBI) and online through the FBI website (http://fbi.gov/tips). 

  • The NTOC will direct credible threats to FBI field offices, for coordination with the U.S. Attorney’s Office and law enforcement partners as appropriate. Reporting threats of violence through NTOC will help the federal government identify increased threats in specific jurisdictions as well as coordinated widespread efforts to intimidate educators and education workers

And lastly the DOJ Press Release Number: 21-960, which can be found here - the October 4, 2021 Attorney General Garland’s memorandum found here.

-Filey

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..UPDATE by the CDC, which reads in part:

“…Given new evidence on the B.1.617.2 (Delta) variant, CDC has updated theguidance for fully vaccinated people. CDC recommends universal indoor masking for all teachers, staff, students, and visitors to K-12 schools, regardless of vaccination status. Children should return to full-time in-person learning in the fall with layered prevention strategies in place.”

  • Updated to recommend universal indoor masking for all students, staff, teachers, and visitors to K-12 schools, regardless of vaccination status.

  • Added recommendation for fully vaccinated people who have a known exposure to someone with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 to be tested 3-5 days after exposure, regardless of whether they have symptoms.

Consistent and Correct Mask Use

When teachers, staff, and students consistently and correctly wear a mask, they protect others as well as themselves. Consistent and correct mask use is especially important indoors and in crowded settings, when physical distancing cannot be maintained.

  • Indoors: CDC recommends indoor masking for all individuals age 2 years and older, including students, teachers, staff, and visitors, regardless of vaccination status.

  • Outdoors: In general, people do not need to wear masks when outdoors. CDC recommends that people who are not fully vaccinated wear a mask in crowded outdoor settings or during activities that involve sustained close contact with other people. Fully vaccinated people might choose to wear a mask in crowded outdoor settings if they or someone in their household is immunocompromised.

Exceptions can be made for the following categories of people:

  • A person who cannot wear a mask, or cannot safely wear a mask, because of a disability as defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) (42 U.S.C. 12101 et seq.). Discuss the possibility of reasonable accommodationexternal icon with workers who are unable to wear or have difficulty wearing certain types of masks because of a disability.

  • A person for whom wearing a mask would create a risk to workplace health, safety, or job duty as determined by the relevant workplace safety guidelines or federal regulations.