Two MN school board officials on board of national group that wanted feds to target parents

The top officials at the Minnesota School Boards Association and the chair of the Austin Public Schools Board play prominent roles at the National School Boards Association that created a national firestorm by demanding the federal government target parents at school board meetings as domestic terrorists.

Here’s how Politico framed what’s widely viewed as the national school boards’ unprecedented assault on parental rights by requesting the intervention of the Justice Department, Department of Homeland Security, Secret Service and National Threat Assessment.

About a month after the association sent its initial plea letter to the Biden administration, the NSBA has faced outrage on all sides — from its members, state attorneys general, lawmakers and parent advocacy groups. These critics say the involvement of the FBI in school board meetings would chill parents’ free speech. “The NSBA seems more concerned about suppressing speech with which it disagrees than real threats of violence,” more than a dozen attorneys general wrote.

Kirk Schneidawind, the executive director of the Minnesota School Boards Association, also serves as the national group’s chair of the Organization of State Association Executive Directors and as an ex-officio non-voting director on the NSBA board of directors, according to its website.

Kathryn Green, chair of the Austin Public Schools Board in southern Minnesota, serves as one of 15 members of the board of directors of the National School Boards Association, according to its website.

MSBA officials have been tight-lipped on the school board group’s position on the request for federal intervention in school board meetings. The St. Peter-based organization did not provide a comment in response to several email requests from American Experiment.

But the MSBA signaled support for federal intervention in local school board meetings by retweeting the Justice Department’s Oct. 4 response headlined “Justice Department Addresses Violent Threats Against School Officials and Teachers.”

The universal backlash to the NSBA’s request for federal intervention in local schools ultimately forced the group to belatedly apologize.

Nicole Neily, president of Parents Defending Education, a group “working to reclaim our schools from activists imposing harmful agendas,” said her group has emailed 47 state school board associations for comment on the NSBA’s Sept. 29 letter. Neily said 19 have distanced themselves from the group’s letter, and many state school boards said they had not been made aware of the NSBA’s request ahead of time.

Several state school board associations have reportedly quit their membership in NSBA. But the Minnesota School Boards Association remains hunkered down, no doubt hoping to avoid adverse publicity the weekend before dozens of Minnesota school districts vote Nov. 2 on numerous school board vacancies and dozens of bond and referendum questions on the ballot.