US Attorney General Merrick Garland issued a memorandum in early October ordering the FBI and US prosecutors’ offices across the country to hold local and state meetings to “discuss counter threat strategies. against school administrators, board members, teachers and staff. “
Surry County Commissioner Eddie Harris made it clear on Monday evening that he was against such measures and that federal authorities should stay out of the decisions of local schools.
He did so by introducing a resolution – unanimously approved by the board – citing the need for parents to be able to openly voice their thoughts and concerns to school boards, and called on the county’s three school systems to voice their dissatisfaction with the federal government. authorities.
Garland’s memo is a response to a letter written by the National School Boards Association in September in which they used strong language to ask for help. “We urge the federal government to take action against individuals or hate groups who target our schools and educators.”
The national school board group has tried to soften their language ever since, which some say makes the Garland memo irrelevant. A point of contention is the use of the terms “hate groups” and “domestic terrorism” in the original letter, expressions not used by Garland.
Garland’s memo cited “a disturbing spike in harassment, intimidation and threats of violence against … (those) who participate in the vital work of managing our nation’s public schools.” While recognizing that “heated debate” is protected, protections of free speech do not allow threats of violence or efforts to intimidate. AG Garland writes that such threats or intimidation are not only illegal, “they go against the core values of our nation.”
Harris sees it as an undue interference with an area of life that is personal to parents, let alone a potential violation of the First Amendment. “The right of parents to engage their elective school boards on any subject is fundamental to a free and open society and to protect the best interests of our nation’s children,” the resolution reads.
Commissioner Harris, and later echoed by Commissioner Van Tucker, expressed his belief that indoctrination could be in danger of taking place in our schools. Harris writes that Garland wants to use federal law enforcement resources to silence parents who question “the divisive, harmful, immoral and enlightened social justice engineering policies of the progressive left.”
“The nation is on fire with these issues revolving around this, I think everyone knows what they are, and I have no intention of seeing them here again tonight,” Harris said in his comments. Remarks. The term Critical Race Theory was cited more than once during the board meeting as an example of the type of indoctrination schoolchildren might face.
To this end, parents must be able to speak out and influence their school board. The resolution states that “parents, through their elected school board, should have full and complete control over what their children are taught and to which they are exposed. “
The resolution says the three local school boards are encouraged “to take appropriate action in expressing their contempt for this flawed and intolerant policy of the Biden administration which attacks parents in Surry County.”
It was on this point that the resolution met its only point of debate, as President Mark Marion called for a change, which was accepted, by deleting “Biden Administration” to be replaced with language saying that no administration is should undermine the rights of parents in Surry County. .
Commissioner Bill Goins concluded with: “One of the things our society needs most is civility, being able to stand in front of a group of people and do so in a civil manner. We can have a civilized speech and not be ugly to each other. “
In comments made before the resolution was accepted, the board agreed that local law enforcement was more than capable enough to handle any potential threat to school board meetings. The Harris resolution was passed unanimously by the board of directors.
In other news from the Council of Commissioners:
– The board received its COVID-19 booster shots at the encouragement of County Health Director Samantha Ange.
– The council congratulated and congratulated the town of Dobson on a successful Halloween party. President Marion noted that it was difficult to park because so many people had come for the event, which means it must have been a success.
– The Board of Directors approved the purchase of a storage building for the Surry County Health and Nutrition Center.
– An additional amount of $ 300,000 will be contributed by the county to be allocated to the Camp Creek restoration and dam repair project which is currently underway. With this addition, the projected total for the entire program covering Big Elkin Creek, Camp Creek and Mitchell River will be $ 3,300,000.
– An agreement between the county and the State Employee’s Credit Union has been reached to renew the lease for the ATM located at the Surry County Service Center / Farmer’s Market in Dobson. The new lease will be for a period of five years.
– And finally, as a feast for the Council of Commissioners, five recent Eagle Scouts from the Boy Scouts of America were honored for their accomplishments by the Council. The promotion of a Scout to the rank of Eagle is the highest honor that can be bestowed on a Scout.
“The Eagle Scout Award is a big deal for these young men, it opens doors. People look at it when you put it on your resume, people look at it and it’s something that is always appreciated in this country, ”Commissioner and Eagle Scout Bill Goins said in praise of the new Eagles. He went on to testify that when the uniform is hung, “The bonds of Scouting last forever.”
The honored Eagle Scouts were:
Jacob Tillman, Troop 561: Tillman cleaned up the green walking trail at Meadowview Middle for his project.
Brandon Hall, Troop 553: Hall saw a need and made improvements to the White Plains Youth Foundation gymnasium.
Brandon Isaacs, Troop 529: Isaacs worked on a six foot climbing wall in Surry Central for his Eagle service project.
Thomas Lawson, Troop 561: Lawson served his community by doing welding repairs to a damaged door at the Shoals Recreation Center.
Noah Khuri, Troop 505: Khuri built a foldable and transportable stage for the use of the Autism Society of North Carolina.