Vermont parents feel threatened by FBI investigation

Vermont political cartoonist Dan Jeffries makes his Vermont Daily Chronicle debut with this Oct. 9 drawing.

by Guy Page 

The federal government’s unprecedented threat of an FBI crackdown on school board critics has cowed many Vermont parents concerned about mandatory student masking, anti-mandate advocate Jim Sexton said yesterday. 

Sexton said that last month, he was in contact with about 100 Vermont parents who had already spoken up at school board meetings or were preparing to do so. 

Enthusiasm ebbed after U.S. Attorney Merrick Garland published an October 4 memo seeming to warn outspoken parents. 

“In recent months, there has been a disturbing spike in harassment, intimidation, and threats of violence against school administrators, board members, teachers, and staff,” Garland wrote. The DOJ “is committed to using its authority and resources to discourage these threats, identify them when they occur, and prosecute them when appropriate. In the coming days, the Department will announce a series of measures designed to address the rise in criminal conduct directed toward school personnel.”

Garland offered no documentation of the ‘disturbing spike.’ Nevertheless he directed the FBI to work with state and local law enforcement “for the benefit of our nation’s nearly 14,000 public school districts.”

Since then? “Massive exodus,” Sexton said. “70% of them aren’t fighting anymore.”

According to available video footage, Sexton and others have not yelled, screamed or threatened violence. This VT Digger video of a Sept. 24 Franklin County school board meeting shows board-public interactions that are spirited but not generally civil and definitely not threatening. 

The same is true nationwide. The one (1) incident of physical violence listed by Garland’s supporters concerned a Sept. 2 incident in which a Mendon, Illinois man was arrested for striking a police officer escorting him from a school board meeting. However, the media coverage does not say why the man was upset, or what was being discussed at the meeting. 

Sexton and (for now) about 20 others will continue to show up at school board meetings to oppose the mandates, arguing that children are healthier and learn better without masks. 

Other groups continue to directly challenge school boards. Ben Morley, a vocal opponent of Critical Race Theory, insists there is harrassment – of parents. 

“I have not seen any harassment or threats towards school board members, teachers, or administrators, but I have seen a clear attempt to assign guilt and make accusations against parents and community members based on political rhetoric,” Morley said. “It’s as if the districts’ leadership want to accuse others of causing harm and grouping individuals together to assign blame. Ultimately this shifts the narrative away from their own actions, to avoid accountability. It’s a political strategy used by leadership.”

“We The Parents,” a new citizen group opposing both CRT and mask mandates, will rally Saturday, October 23 on the Vermont State House lawn.

Meanwhile, Sexton encourages Vermonters to stand on their First Amendment constitutional rights “peaceable to assemble” and petition the government about their grievances.

“You don’t lose until you stop trying,” Sexton said.

Editor’s note: In the hundreds of school board meetings I’ve covered since my first in 1979, I’ve seen parents get upset about taxes, curriculum, parental notification of abortion and birth control, athletic programs, flagpoles, and school busing. Behavior of this year’s anti-mask advocates seems no worse than the norm of these lively conversations.

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Categories: Education

10 replies »

  1. It is terrifying that this is now Vermont. And it is even MORE terrifying that Americans are backing off of persevering for their RIGHTS. This is the making of a free country transformed into an unfree one.

  2. They are hell-bent on ensuring that your child is psychologically damaged, deprived from oxygen, given a vaccine that’s experimental for a sickness that affects them significantly less than the flu. Worst of all they are insisting that you pay for it and have no say in it at all.

    Meanwhile those who are pushing for it, the teachers association, the local, state and federal governments, and the big pharmaceutical industries are all lining their pockets with your money.

    Either go to your parent teacher meetings and tell them you’re not going to stand for it or remove your child from the school and refuse to pay taxes for it.

    If you’re not going to stand up for yourself in this fight no one else is going to do it for you.

    “If not you then who?”

  3. Merrick Garland is a sniveling coward. The fbi is corrupt. I hope when Garland contacts our local police forces they say, “This is a local issue. You are not wanted or needed or have any right to interfere in our local matters!”
    Thank God Garland didn’t make it to the Supreme Court.

  4. I believe it is time for Vermont to readdress the issue of succession. I know the liberal fringe of this state would not support it because they would lose all of their perks from bowing down to the federal government and from prostituting themselves. Nevertheless, we who are concerned about liberty in Vermont and personal freedoms should be reminded of how Ethan Allen and the “Green Mountain Boys” stood up against oppression from New York during the Revolution. Where are these people today when we need them. We may have to risk threatened federal investigations, but when we look at the oppression being forced upon us today by the federal government, it is the same as that which was done by King George when he threatened our colonies in the 1700’s with military action. To be honest I would rather take the heat for succession than stand idly by as an illegal federal government threatens our freedoms.

  5. I believe we are beyond the point of being able count on, or even hope for, our government and school boards to address, let alone solve these problems. It is time for the people to stand stronger, even to the point of civil disobedience. We need a radical change (dare I say revolutionary?) in the direction our state and country is going in. Such change often requires sacrifice, great sacrifice.

    Parents that are unhappy with the school and education system have an option . . . pull your children out of the schools, Even the governor, in what struck me a being said sarcastically, stated that was an option for Vermonters. Fortunately, Vermont still makes homeschooling an easy process to enroll in. Will that require a sacrifice? I can state from experience that, yes, it will. However, it is well worth it. We did it with our children and now our grandchildren. They not only learn reading, writing, arithmetic, science, and history they also learn about respect, morals, responsibility, and truths.

    Those that do not take a stand now will only find the line where they have to take a stand being tougher and tougher in the future. Do not be intimidated, stand up for your freedom . . . many have sacrificed much for it . . . some unto their deaths.

  6. Looky here people, we all KNOW that if you’re WHITE you have “White Guilt” whether you know it or NOT so it’s up to US in the Teacher’s Unions to PUNISH your KIDS and make sure they KNOW how responsible THEY are for the racial strife that WE have amplified out of nowhere and make sure THEY know THEY TOO are RESPONSIBLE! They are the new purveyors of INEQUITY, whatever THAT is, well, whatever we SAY it is..And for THAT they too must be PUNISHED & made to feel GUILTY for their part in it ALL, so shut up, sit down, or go HOME! And if you RUBES have the temerity to question US we’ll REPORT you ALL to the FBI for “Hate Crimes”! Don’t mind the poor scores in basic skills like Reading, Writing & Math, we may get around to THAT later, maybe not, just don’t you DARE show up & complain or we’ll turn YOUR kids against YOU by showing THEM how racist you ARE. And when the black 4-door cars show up in YOUR driveway and Federal Agents question YOU in front of your own kids you will SEE the power of the JUSTICE DEPARTMENT writ large, so NEVER question authority, WE know what’s BEST for YOU & YOURS! We’ll MAKE you all GLAD you voted “Democratic” and know you will do so again! WHO among you would EVER vote out YOUR state’s 3 Stooges? THEY are in for LIFE! And if you think the FBI’s bad just WAIT until Biden DOUBLES the size of the IRS! THEY will “monitor” EVERY “transaction” over $600 and NONE of you Congressional “Delegation” will utter a PEEP! Good Luck & Have Fun in lovely Vermont and keep voting for the “party Of The Working People”!

  7. The sky is falling! The sky is falling! Garland did nothing more than inform the rabid crazies that threats and intimidation of school board members won’t be tolerated Thank God.

    Sane, decent people who can get their points across without threatening have nothing to fear.

    Freedom of speech does not include freedom to intentionally instill fear for one’s life in others. The people complaining are the same classless ilk as those who attack stewardesses on planes at 30,000 feet.