BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Monday, Attorney General Merrick Garland ordered the FBI to help protect school employees and teachers across the nation following an uptick in violence and threats against them.

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Garland directed the FBI and other agencies to discuss strategies for addressing this disturbing trend.

“There have been threats against me,” said Cindy Sexton, Teachers Association of Baltimore County.

Cindy Sexton is the President of the Teachers Association of Baltimore County and for the first time in over 20 years of teaching, she’s receiving threats.

“I got an email that threatened real violence, uh those were the words, real violence,” Sexton said.

She said the threats started when the union voiced its vaccine position for teachers and escalated when the mask mandate went into effect. She believes the mandate put teachers in the middle of a political issue, putting them at risk.

“Our educators are going to be the ones ultimately responsible for enforcing that in a school in a classroom so they are in the middle in that,” Sexton said.

And the Attorney General is doing something about it, citing a disturbing spike in harassment, intimidation and threats of violence against school administrators, board members, teachers and staff.

He’s now calling in the FBI and other federal authorities after receiving an urgent request from the National School Boards Association.

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But on Tuesday, congressional lawmakers, echoing some parents, saying the utilizing FBI’s is a way to silence parents after school boards like Harford County switched to virtual-only sessions.

“If this isn’t a deliberate attempt to chill parents from showing up to school board meeting. They have the right to appear and be heard!” said Josh Hawley, United States Senator, Missouri.

The school board said they had to go virtual following an August meeting due to the actions of some parents who attended.

 

 

Now, law enforcement on a local, state and federal level will be monitoring these threats of violence.

“It’s unfortunate for our students because they’re hearing the vitriol they’re hearing these hatred stories they’re seeing social media posts,” Sexton added.

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The Department of Justice is expected to announce a series of measures designed to address the rise in criminal conduct directed toward school personnel within the coming days.

Annie Rose Ramos