FILE - South Carolina map

(The Center Square) – The South Carolina School Board Association (SCSBA) withdrew its membership in the National School Boards Association (NSBA) this week, citing the NSBA’s Sept. 29 letter to President Joe Biden regarding threats of violence at school board meetings.

“Over the past few weeks, SCSBA leadership has carefully monitored NSBA’s actions, advocating and watching for a clear path forward and affirmative steps to address the damage done in relation to NSBA’s September 29 letter to President Joe Biden,” the organization wrote to members in a letter signed by SCSBA President Cheryl Burgess and Executive Director Scott Price.

The letter referenced an Oct. 22 letter of apology to state organizations but said NSBA “has taken few steps to mitigate the negative impact of the letter on many states including South Carolina.”

The SCSBA voted Friday to leave the national organization and notified the group this week. The state organization assured members the withdrawal will not have an affect on state-level services and trainings for school board members.

The NSBA had asked Biden for “federal law enforcement and other assistance to deal with the growing number of threats of violence and acts of intimidation occurring across the nation” at school board meetings.

The NSBA letter said it was written on behalf of the organization’s 90,000 school board members and its member state organizations.

“Coupled with attacks against school board members and educators for approving policies for masks to protect the health and safety of students and school employees, many public school officials are also facing physical threats because of propaganda purporting the false inclusion of critical race theory within classroom instruction and curricula,” the NSBA letter read. “This propaganda continues despite the fact that critical race theory is not taught in public schools and remains a complex law school and graduate school subject well beyond the scope of a K-12 class.”

The Oct. 22 apology letter from the NSBA to its members said it regretted and apologized for language used in the original letter but maintained safety for all involved is the top priority.

“There was no justification for some of the language included in the letter,” the NSBA wrote. “We should have a better process in place to allow for consultation on a communication of this significance.”

The apology said the NSBA would conduct a formal review of its processes and procedures before announcing specific improvements to improve coordination and consultation amongst staff. The apology was not specific on which language or comments it deemed was not justified.

Staff Reporter

Jon Styf is an award-winning editor and reporter who has worked in Illinois, Texas, Wisconsin, Florida and Michigan in local newsrooms over the past 20 years, working for Shaw Media, Hearst and several other companies.