Big Sky Roundup

AG Knudsen joins lawsuit to compel release of records involving school boards controversy

By: - March 7, 2022 6:17 pm

The office of the Attorney General of Montana (Photo by Eric Seidle/ For the Daily Montanan).

Montana Attorney General Austin Knudsen joined a lawsuit Friday asking a U.S. district court to force the Biden administration to release records related to a U.S. Department of Justice memo issued in a fall 2021 controversy related to the National School Boards Association, the AG’s Office announced Monday in a news release.

Following threats against school officials in a politically charged debate over masks and other coronavirus restrictions, the NSBA wrote a letter to the president asking for support from federal law enforcement and noting aggression against school trustees might be likened to “domestic terrorism.” After a backlash, the organization apologized for such language.

However, Knudsen’s news release said the Biden administration never rescinded its own memo issued by the U.S. Department of Justice. The Oct. 4 memo said school workers deserve to work in a safe environment, and it called on the FBI to meet with local, state, federal and tribal leaders to strategize about how to address the threats.

In the news release, the Attorney General’s Office said it wants the records “related to the administration’s schemes to prevent parents from speaking out against leftist indoctrination in public schools” because Montanans deserve an accounting.

Other states participating in the lawsuit are Indiana, Arizona, Arkansas, Georgia, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Missouri, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas, and Utah, the AG’s Office said.

It also noted the Montana School Boards Association exited the national organization and that Superintendent of Public Instruction Elsie Arntzen supports Knudsen’s effort.

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