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WASHINGTON – US Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, spoke today in the Senate on escalating violence and threats of violence against teachers, school officials and school board members across the country. In October Attorney General Merrick Garland directed the FBI and U.S. prosecutors’ offices to contact state and local law enforcement agencies to address threats of violence against school board members, teachers, and public school workers across our country. In his speech, Durbin highlighted the difference between free speech and violence or threats of violence, and praised Attorney General Garland for his willingness to stand up and keep our schools safe.

“Every parent has the right to voice their disagreements with school board members, and it is only natural that sometimes, emovements can be high. It is part of the open debate in a free society ”, said Durbin. “But there is a difference, a clear difference that we must never overlook, between freedom of speech and threats of violence. We have to be unequivocal in drawing this line.

Durbin went on to denounce the dangerous apathy that Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee have shown in reaction to these reports of violence.

“Instead of condemning the violence, some of our fellow Republicans denounced the Justice Department for even suggesting there was a possibility. Why? Do they think that these incidents of violence and threats of violence are acceptable, that they should not be taken seriously? ” Durbin asked.

Durbin continued, “Here in the Senate, we should also be united in saying that violence and the threat of violence have no place in public life, whether in a federal building, on an airplane or at a meeting of school board… We need to at least have the common sense and the courage to speak up, and we need to support law enforcement members who are doing all they can to protect all of our families. Among our many freedoms in America is our freedom to live without fear. “

The video of Durbin’s remarks to the Senate is available here.

Audio of Durbin’s remarks to the Senate is available here.

Images of Durbin’s remarks to the Senate are available here for TV channels.


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