Letter calling parents domestic terrorists has 'thrown gasoline' on the fire, parent activist says

The NSBA letter 'has thrown gasoline on this parent-led movement fire,' parent activist says

A parent activist and former school board member who has trained hundreds of concerned parents across the country to run for school board themselves tells Fox News that parents will not accept the National School Board Association's "disingenuous" apology after it compared parents to domestic terrorists in a letter to the Biden administration. She predicted that the NSBA letter will only energize concerned parents.

"It’s really disingenuous, it’s a little too late for that," Laura Zorc, director of education reform at Building Education for Students Together (BEST), told Fox News in an interview on Saturday. "It’s almost as if it’s a forced apology."

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NSBA sent the letter on September 29, warning that school boards face "physical threats" due to opposition to COVID-19 policies and critical race theory. The letter claimed that some unruly parent protests may be "equivalent to a form of domestic terrorism."

Yet on Friday – after the Department of Justice had issued a memorandum apparently based on the letter – NSBA issued an apology for the letter. 

"On behalf of NSBA, we regret and apologize for the letter," the NSBA said, noting that "there was no justification for some of the language included in the letter."

Parents at school board meetings in Fairfax County, Virginia, have worn t-shirts declaring, "Parents are not domestic terrorists."

Elizabeth L. Schultz, a member of the Fairfax County School Board for 8 years, wearing a "Parents are not domestic terrorists" t-shirt.

Elizabeth L. Schultz, a member of the Fairfax County School Board for 8 years, wearing a "Parents are not domestic terrorists" t-shirt. (Fox News Digital)

Zorc told Fox News that the NSBA apology is "an apology to their membership, it's not an apology to the parents it needs to be going to."

At least 21 states had distanced themselves from the NSBA letter, according to Parents Defending Education.

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Yet Zorc said the apology is unlikely to solve the key issues. 

"The toothpaste is already out of the tube, you can’t put it back in after doing something like this," she told Fox News, noting the Biden administration's memo.

"How do you take all that back and make parents feel safe and secure?" Zorc asked.

Zorc, who served four years on the Indian River County School Board, helped found BEST in January 2021. She told Fox News that about 770 people have completed her trainings on how to run for school board, and more than 180 trainees have committed to running. The organization focuses on issues like COVID-19 school closures, school choice, and watching out for radical ideas in the curriculum, like critical race theory – the very issues that NSBA mentioned.

Laura Zorc leads a BEST training. Photo courtesy of Laura Zorc

Laura Zorc leads a BEST training. Photo courtesy of Laura Zorc (BEST)

Zorc said she has "had contact" with "many of the parents" listed in the NSBA letter. "For them to call these parents domestic terrorists, I was appalled. These parents have done nothing but go to school board meetings, sign up for their three minutes, and speak at the meeting."

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Zorc predicted that the NSBA letter will energize parents. 

"COVID-19 was the great awaking for parents," she told Fox News, referencing parental outrage over prolonged school closures, mask mandates, vaccine mandates, and Zoom classes that allowed parents to see the radical ideas teachers were pushing in the virtual classroom.

"I think the NSBA letter has thrown gasoline on this parent-led movement fire," Zorc explained. "For the parents that were growing weary, I believe this move by the NSBA has bushed this movement to the next level."

She pointed to two recent events that illustrate the growing movement.

Zorc referenced the resignation of Loudoun County School Board member Beth Barts, who stepped down amid allegations of a cover-up of an alleged sexual assault in a girls' restroom, and the rise of Republican gubernatorial candidate Glenn Youngkin, who has championed parental rights. While Virginia has trended blue in recent elections – going to Joe Biden by 10 points in 2020 – recent polls have Youngkin tied with Democrat former Gov. Terry McAuliffe. 

"I definitely think that his numbers have skyrocketed because of his position on protecting parental rights," Zorc said. She noted McAuliffe's infamous statement, "I don't think parents should be telling schools what they should teach."

"I think that sent a red flag to parents across the state," Zorc said.

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"We have so many administrators and school boards that don’t want the parents there but that’s our job to be there," Zorc added. 

NSBA declined to comment further about the apology letter.

Laura Zorc headshot, courtesy of Laura Zorc.

Laura Zorc headshot, courtesy of Laura Zorc.