“Parents absolutely should be telling their local schools what to teach. This is the very basis of representative government,” McConnell, a Kentucky Republican, wrote in a letter. “They do this both in elections and — as protected by the First Amendment of the Constitution — while petitioning their government for redress of grievance. Telling elected officials they’re wrong is democracy, not intimidation.”
CNN has reached out to the Justice Department for comment.
“Threats against public servants are not only illegal, they run counter to our nation’s core values,” Garland wrote in a memo about the directive. “Those who dedicate their time and energy to ensuring that our children receive a proper education in a safe environment deserve to be able to do their work without fear for their safety.”
Still, Republicans are using talking points similar to McConnell’s ahead of the 2022 contests and members of the party have already sought to harness the recent Republican focus on education issues in the Virginia governor’s race.
The moment came during the second and final debate between the two late last month. “I’m not going to let parents come into schools and actually take books out and make their own decision,” McAuliffe said over what should be taught in schools. The former governor later added, “I don’t think parents should be telling schools what they should teach.”
The comments, after getting considerable pick up within conservative media, quickly became a Youngkin ad and have already become a staple of Youngkin’s pitch in the closing weeks of the race to lead the Commonwealth.