Chip Slaven, the onetime interim executive director and CEO of the National School Boards Association, feels it’s time to clear the air around that notorious letter he sent to the White House—the one that apparently suggested some parents who show up at school board meetings might be “domestic terrorists,” and which asked the DOJ to investigate.
After a recent independent report conducted into the matter, it seems the NSBA decided to hang Slaven out to dry, blaming him for the whole thing. Apparently, there’s no honor among bureaucrats.
In an extensive interview with Fox News, however, Slaven set the record straight. For one thing, he says, the White House never requested the letter, and he categorically denies that the NSBA ever traduced parents as domestic terrorists, which he says was an exaggeration that was blown out of proportion. As a refresher, the letter Slaven is referring to is the infamous missive that was dispatched to President Joe Biden’s desk in September of last year, requesting that the feds conduct an investigation into threats of violence against school board members.
The NSBA also seemed to ask that those parents protesting CRT measures at school board meetings should be investigated under the Patriot Act. In terms of optics, this came at a particularly bad time for the Biden administration, which has been accused of holding political prisoners in the equivalent of gulags in Washington, D.C. Actually, there isn’t really any good time to be accusing concerned and engaged parents 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 letter read.
“As such, NSBA requests a joint expedited review by the U.S. Departments of Justice, Education, and Homeland Security, along with…the FBI, including…its National Security Branch and Counterterrorism Division, as well as any other federal agency with relevant jurisdictional authority and oversight.”
The NSBA later apologized for the letter and its inflammatory language, which Slaven says he disagreed with. In his estimation, the organization should have corrected the narrative, which he claims was contrary to what was perceived by the public. Moreover, an independent review pretty much threw Slaven under the bus regarding the letter and claimed that higher-ups at the NSBA hadn’t authorized the letter.
Slaven took issue with that characterization. His wasn’t the only signature on the letter—Viola Garcia, who was president at the time of the NSBA, and who now sits on the National Assessment Governing Board, also signed the letter.
When asked about the matter by Fox News, the NSBA maintains that the letter was never submitted for review to the entire Board of Directors, and stands by the independent review. Unfortunately for Slaven, he seems to have fallen victim to the classic bureaucratic CYA maneuver, whereby he was made the sacrificial lamb to exonerate the organization.
“I considered the real betrayal concerning the report is the fact that it essentially clears me of not following policy,” Slaven said.
“I did follow the policy, [as] they pointed out…I did exactly what had gone on for years. Maybe there should be a new process,” he continued. Nevertheless, the report “uses words like I didn’t explicitly violate policy or whatever, which is a way of saying for people—wink, nod—he implicitly did. We got rid of him, problem is solved. Everything’s okay.”
“The report’s disingenuous in a lot of ways. It doesn’t really touch on what happened around the apology, which I was completely backstabbed at a board meeting about that issue…There were a lot of things like that that occurred that left my head scratching at the time,” Slaven explained.
“I felt betrayed, I guess, by [some of the] officers…when they issued the apology, announced the apology, and didn’t bother to at least tell me. And the excuse given…was not enough time or too late or something like that. That was bull. [They] just chose not to include me.”
Slaven also took issue with the idea that parents were singled out as domestic terrorists.
“The word parents is not in the letter anywhere, and that is not being pointed out at all,” he said. But, he subjoined, “I’m always concerned about someone blowing up in a meeting [and taking] action they haven’t thought through clearly…I was worried that if we’re a country with a lot of people carrying guns each day, that it could escalate.”
But despite everything that happened, Slaven doesn’t disavow the letter’s contents.
“Hindsight’s 2020. So…I can’t go back in time…But I am proud of what we did, and I stand by it,” he said. “And I don’t think we have anything to apologize for, for calling out the issue around violence and threats. I am sorry that so many people have been impacted by it and have to deal with it now…because of the letter and not because of the issue.”
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