Last week, the National School Boards Association pressed the Biden administration to investigate parents who they claim have been making threats against them. The Department of Justice undertook the investigation.
Then the Associated Press fact-checked the claim that the NSBA was asking the Biden administration to investigate parents for domestic terrorism. But the NSBA had asked Biden to use the Patriot Act, and to employ both the Department of Homeland Security as well as counterterrorism units.
The AP's fact-check was clever, in that it said that the claim that "The National School Boards Association is asking the Biden administration to label parents who protest school policies domestic terrorists" was "false." And while the letter from the NSBA didn't ask for the government to classify parents as domestic terrorists, the letter claimed that these parents' alleged actions "could be the equivalent to a form of domestic terrorism and hate crimes."
The letter also asked Biden to investigate the parents with all the tools available to them to investigate domestic terrorism.
The NSBA requested an "expedited review" by several federal agencies, including the Departments of Justice, Education, and Homeland Security, and that this 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…"
Did the NSBA ask the Biden administration to "label parents who protest school policies domestic terrorists"? Not exactly, instead, they said that their actions should be investigated to find out if it is domestic terrorism, and asked the agencies that deal with domestic terrorism to review the cases of these parents according to their understanding of domestic terrorism.
Is the AP's fact-check misleading and mostly-false? Yes, it is. And many on social media were quick to point that out.
In response to the letter from the NSBA, the Department of Justice, under Attorney General Merrick Garland, did announce that they would undertake an investigation. Garland wrote that he would instruct law enforcement "leaders to discuss strategies for addressing this disturbing trend."
Garland said that the DOJ would "launch a series of additional efforts in the coming days designed to address the rise in criminal conduct directed toward school personnel… 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."