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Missouri School Boards' Association withdraws from National School Boards Association

The Missouri Schools Boards' Association withdrew from participating in the National School Boards Association on Monday.

The withdrawal, which will be effective immediately, comes after the MSBA Board of Directors met last week.

Officials say the NSBA "demonstrated it does not currently align with the MSBA's guiding principles of local governance" after the national association requested the FBI investigate parents for threats against educators and school board members without consulting its Missouri chapter.

"We also believe that no school board member or educator should ever have to endure threats of violence or acts of intimidation against themselves or their families for making these difficult decisions," MSBA Executive Director Melissa Randol said in a letter to members. "However, attempting to address that issue with federal intervention should not be the first step in most cases, and is antithetical to our longstanding tradition of local control."

The decision comes after the NSBA sent a letter to President Joe Biden asking to prosecute threats against public school officials as "the equivalent to a form of domestic terrorism and hate crimes."

The NSBA issued an apology statement Friday, which the MSBA called a "step in the right direction."

Gov. Mike Parson said in a press release on Tuesday that he supports MSBA's decision to leave the NSBA.

"This action shows Missouri schools take parents' First Amendment rights seriously and will protect Missourians' abilities to speak freely and petition their local school board," Parson said. "The state looks forward to working with MSBA in the future to continue advancing quality K-12 education and promoting a transparent school system."

The MSBA said the withdrawal will not have any effect on the programs and services that they offer.

The Ohio and Pennsylvania School Board Associations have also withdrawn their membership from the national organization after the letter was sent to President Biden.