NYC council candidate pens op-ed defending parents protesting school boards

Independent New York City council candidate and former prosecutor Maud Maron argued against recent efforts from the National School Boards Association (NSBA) to target parents who have been protesting issues in regards to their kids’ education.

On Monday, former New York Times writer Bari Weiss published Maron’s op-ed, "Why Are Moms Like Me Being Called Domestic Terrorists?" on Substack. In the op-ed, Maron referenced the NSBA’s request to President Biden to address the "growing number of threats of violence and acts of intimidation occurring across the nation" towards school boards.

"I read the letter with grave concern, as would any American who cares about our public schools and the safety of teachers and students. What was the nature of this threat? And would my own children be at risk?" Maron wrote. "As it turns out, the threat is me. The threat is parents showing up to dress down school boards over their dereliction of duty. That is what the NSBA considers a crime."

The letter suggested recent protest by parents could be classified as a form of "domestic terrorism."

"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," the NSBA wrote.

Attorney General Merrick Garland later announced efforts from the Justice Department and the FBI to investigate "threats of violence" against school board members, seemingly connected to the NSBA letter.

Maron denounced Garland’s announcement as well as attempts to label concerned parents as terrorists.

"Many of the parents who are on the receiving end of the federal government’s chilling message are new to school boards, new to speaking up and, to say the absurd part out loud, clearly not domestic terrorists. The combination of extended Covid-related school closures; mask mandates; an increasingly extreme race- and gender-focused curriculum; and the removal of tests, honors classes and merit-based admissions has created a bumper crop of engaged ​​— and, in many cases, enraged — parents rightfully concerned about what is happening in their children’s schools," Maron wrote.

Maron shared about her own experience as a school board member. Although she acknowledged the animosity she faced, she insisted that it was nevertheless an obligation to listen to parents."It is not fun to listen to people call you names or falsely accuse you of racism. But when you are an elected board member you have an obligation to listen to everyone — everyone —at public meetings. So, I listened. It was often painful. Yet never in my wildest dreams would I ever have considered their activism to be something best handled by the FBI," Maron said.

In closing, Maron defended parents’ protests of school boards as "a basic American right."

"We are parents, and we have every right to speak passionately and publicly about our children’s education. To post on social media. To write open letters to school board members. To submit op-eds to newspapers. To form advocacy organizations with other parents. To organize protests. To show up to school board meetings," Maron wrote, "That’s not domestic terrorism. It’s good parenting. It’s patriotism. And it’s a basic American right — one we all need to defend."

Last month, Maron called out New York City’s public school system for focusing on critical race theory. She also claimed that her opposition to anti-bias training in schools eventually forced her out of her position in the Legal Aid Society.

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