The Department of Education "immediately and permanently" dissolved the National Parents and Families Engagement Council just six months after founding it, Breitbart reported. It was largely panned as an attempt by Attorney General Merrick Garland to "paper over" transgressions against concerned parents.
"The Department disagrees, but has decided to not move forward with the National Parents and Families Engagement Council," President Joe Biden's DOE said in a statement. "The Department will continue connecting with individual parents and families across the country, including through townhalls, and providing parents and families with a wide array of tools and resources to use to support our students," it said.
Conservative groups, including those advocating for parents' rights, had sued the administration over the council's creation. They objected to the left-leaning organizations involved making it a lopsided endeavor but sued on procedural grounds.
The organization America First Legal initiated the legal action with the help of Parents Defending Education and Fight for Schools and Families, contending that the government didn't follow proper procedures to form it. However, Gene Hamilton, vice president and general counsel for the AFL, said it was a clear attempt to "paper over their open hostility towards parents and families."
"While we continue to seek justice and accountability for the issuance of the Attorney General’s absurd October 2021 memorandum that initiated this whole sequence of events, we are tremendously proud to have partnered with other concerned patriots to effectively end the Biden Administration’s faux Council," Hamilton continued. The initial controversy erupted following Garland's shocking memo.
The attorney general had issued a missive on October 4, 2021, suggesting that concerned parents at school board meetings were akin to domestic terrorists. "In recent months, there has been a disturbing spike in harassment, intimidation, and threats of violence against school administrators, board members, teachers, and staff who participate in the vital work of running our nation's public schools," the memo began.
"While spirited debate about policy matters is protected under our Constitution, that protection does not extend to threats of violence or efforts to intimidate individuals based on their views," Garland added. He went on to say that he would be "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 of the issuance of this memorandum."
"These meetings will facilitate the discussion of strategies for addressing threats against school administrators, board members, teachers, and staff, and will open dedicated lines of communication for threat reporting, assessment, and response," Garland wrote. However, there was more to the story about the incident many agree was the impetus for the memo.
In June 2022, a parent was arrested at a Loudoun County School Board meeting, the New York Post reported. Video of the arrest soon went viral, and the narrative that angry parents were a threat to officials was created.
However, it was later revealed that the parent arrested was Scott Smith, the father of a female student who was sexually assaulted in a school restroom by a boy wearing a skirt. Smith was attempting to speak out at the meeting after a member of the school board with knowledge of the assault claimed no such incidents ever happened as they debated allowing gender-confused boys to use girls' bathrooms.
Smith was charged with resisting arrest and disorderly conduct. However, as his attorney Elizabeth Lancaster pointed out, the 48-year-old father was just trying to get his story out.
"If someone would have sat and listened for 30 seconds to what Scott had to say, they would have been mortified and heartbroken," Lancaster said. Smith was used by the likes of Garland as the face of an alleged problem rather than a victim's parent who was entitled to be heard.
"That’s really scary, that our government will weaponize themselves against parents and they’re using my video across the nation to spread fear," he said. Instead of righting the wrong, the government virtue signaled by creating the National Parents and Families Engagement Council.
Parents have a right to have a say when it comes to their children's education. However, it's becoming painfully clear that those in charge want to cut parents out of the equation entirely in favor of ushering in their radical and destructive leftist agenda.