The United States Justice Department on Oct. 4 has begun addressing a “disturbing trend” of violent threats against public school officials and teachers across the country.
U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland has directed the Federal Bureau of Investigation and U.S. Attorney’s Offices to meet with law enforcement leaders in the next 30 days to discuss strategies for addressing “an increase in harassment, intimidation, and threats of violence against school board members, teachers and workers” in public schools.
According to Garland, the meetings will open dedicated lines of communication to report, assess, and respond to threats.
“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,” Garland said in a memorandum.
Garland further said that the Justice Department will launch a series of measures “in the coming days” to address the surge in criminal conduct directed towards school personnel.
According to the Justice Department, the creation of a task force is expected to be included in the measures.
The Justice Department also said that it will create specialized training and guidance for local school boards and school administrators to help them and other potential victims on how to report threats to appropriate law enforcement agencies and how to preserve evidence to aid in the investigation of the crimes.
While the Justice Department did not provide official figures for the surge of violence against school officials, the National School Boards Association cited in a letter addressed to U.S. President Joe Biden over 20 instances of “threats, harassment, disruption, and acts of intimidation” at school board meetings in several states.
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