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Missouri officials praise MSBA for leaving national school board group

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Top Missouri Republicans praised the Missouri School Boards’ Association after it withdrew from the national group

The National School Boards Association (NSBA) caused ire when it referred to “domestic terrorists” in a letter last month to the White House regarding contentious school board meetings. The letter quickly drew condemnation by those who thought it likened parents concerned about mask mandates or the teaching of critical race theory as “domestic terrorists.” 

State Sen. Caleb Rowden

NSBA has since apologized for the language used in the September letter, but the Missouri School Boards’ Association (MSBA) still informed its members it would leave the national organization after it “demonstrated it does not currently align with MSBA’s guiding principles of local governance.” 

“We applaud MSBA’s decision to withdraw from NSBA. Missouri parents value local control, and when it comes to our children’s education, parents have a right to know what is being taught and to have their voices heard,” said Gov. Mike Parson. “Recent actions by NSBA to paint parents as radicals and solicit unwarranted action by the Biden administration shows a clear disconnect with Missouri schools.” 

Parson said Missouri already has “strict laws” in place for those who threaten schools or faculty members. He said the state does “not need the DOJ or FBI injecting federal bureaucracy into our local matters.” 

“We appreciate MSBA standing up for our students, teachers, and parents alike and recognizing that Missouri will play no part in criminalizing concerned parents,” the Republican chief executive said. “This action shows Missouri schools take parents’ First Amendment rights seriously and will protect Missourians’ abilities to speak freely and petition their local school boards. The state looks forward to working with MSBA in the future to continue advancing quality K-12 education and promoting a transparent school system.” 

Majority Floor Leader Caleb Rowden, who is considered to be a potential 2022 congressional candidate, initially implored the MSBA to clarify its position after the national letter was made public. In a text message to The Missouri Times Tuesday, Rowden said the MSBA’s withdrawal from the national group was a “great thing.” 

“I think this is the beginning of a movement back toward parents being the most powerful ‘special interest’ in the education of their kids,” Rowden said. 

Additionally, conservative Sen. Mike Moon praised the MSBA as making the “correct” decision. 

“The National School Boards Association requested U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland to target parents, who protest at local school board meetings, as domestic terrorists. Taxpayers, including parents with children enrolled in government schools, have a say in the curriculum used to teach children,” Moon, who is running for Congress, told The Missouri Times. “The actions by the current administration, as carried out by Mr. Garland, is simply a demonstration of tyranny.”

The MSBA said its withdrawal from the national group will not have an impact on its members’ programs and services. 

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