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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 18, 2021

For press inquiries only, contact:
Mike Lewis (334) 353-2199
Joy Patterson (334) 242-7491

Attorney General Steve Marshall Calls on Biden Admin to Withdraw Memo Intimidating Parents for Voicing School Concerns

(MONTGOMERY)—Attorney General Steve Marshall called on the Biden
administration to immediately withdraw a recent memorandum directing the Justice Department and the FBI to stifle parent complaints over their children’s education during local school board meetings.

“It is outrageous that the government would attempt to intimidate parents from
expressing their First Amendment rights to elected school officials, and to characterize such constitutionally protected speech as domestic terrorism,” said Attorney General Marshall. “Over and above all the incredible attempts by this administration to undermine Americans’ rights, its gambit to muzzle and cower parents from speaking up for their children’s education is its most chilling, and frankly, lowest blow to common decency. This shameful attack on free speech cannot stand.”

On October 4, the U.S. Department of Justice issued a memorandum decrying a
“disturbing spike in harassment, intimidation, and threats of violence against school administrators, board members, teachers, and staff.” On that premise, U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland called for the FBI and other federal law enforcement agents to fan out across the United States and monitor activities in the nation’s school districts to suppress what they deem unruly behavior. The Biden administration, however, has provided no convincing evidence of any significant “spike” in threats against school personnel. Instead, these actions by the administration seem designed to chill the lawful dissent of parents who express concerns about their children’s education at local public school board meetings.

The Department of Justice memorandum echoes a National School Board Association (NSBA) letter sent September 29, to the Biden administration that laments the rise of parents pushing back against divisive ideologies, including critical race theory (CRT). The NSBA letter raises the specter of local protests rising to the level of "domestic terrorism.”

Attorney General Marshall joined attorneys general from 16 other states in sending a letter today to President Biden and U.S. Attorney General Garland strongly opposing the unconstitutional memorandum.

The attorneys general stated in the letter, “We request that you immediately withdraw the October 4, 2021 Memorandum, to immediately cease any further actions designated to intimidate parents from expressing their opinions on the education of their children, and demand that you respect their First Amendment rights to freedom of speech and to raise their children.”

Attorney General Marshall joined attorneys general from Arizona, Arkansas, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas and Utah in writing the letter to the Biden administration.

Read the attorneys general letter here.

[For link, click PDF icon at upper right of press release]

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The primary duty of the Attorney General is to serve as legal counsel to Alabama's state agencies, departments, and officers. Our office is prohibited by law from providing private citizens with legal advice, representation, or opinions (Code of Alabama, 1975, Title 36, Chapter 15). The Attorney General's Office does not handle any domestic cases (example: child support, child custody, divorce, etc.) or probate matters (real estate, wills, property disputes, etc.). To obtain an attorney or legal aid referral, you may contact the Alabama State Bar Lawyer Referral Service at http://www.alabar.org or by calling 1-800-392-5660 .