After vowing back in May to investigate invasive student surveys used in at least one school district, Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt has officially sent a civil investigative demand to Panorama Education, the digital platform responsible for many of the surveys.
A civil investigative demand operates as a subpoena, requesting communications between Panorama and the Department of Justice, including Attorney General Merrick Garland, whose son-in-law co-founded the education company.
“My office last week served Panorama Education with a civil investigative demand to collect documents to determine exactly what information and data Panorama has collected and how data from these surveys is being stored or distributed,” Schmitt, who is also running for US Senate, said in a statement.
The company’s surveys and others investigated by Schmitt include prying questions about students’ racial and gender identities, as well as their political preferences and views on such issues as gay marriage, abortion and birth control.
Another major concern is how that information is harvested and stored – and who has access to the data, inside and outside the company.
Garland’s relationship to his son-in-law’s company was one of the factors leading to a resolution in the House last October to impeach Garland for “high crimes and misdemeanors relating to investigating threats against school personnel and to a conflict of interest.”
The resolution, H.Res.743, cites Garland’s “close personal relationship with an individual who stands to financially benefit from the promotion of ‘equity,’ ‘inclusion,’ and ‘critical race theory’ concepts in public school curricula – and the suppression of dissenting opinions.”
American First Legal, a conservative legal group, also has raised questions about financial interests regarding Garland and the promotion of CRT.
“AG Garland ordered the DOJ to use its vast national security powers to target parents who object to critical race theory being forced onto innocent children,” said AFL founder Stephen Miller. “It is therefore exceptionally urgent that the department disclose all records pertaining to the Garland family’s financial interest in critical race theory and any and all ethical conflicts that arise from that financial interest.”
In its defense, Panorama blamed school districts, telling Fox News Digital that school districts are the ones who decide on the content and administration of these surveys.
“Panorama Education is an education technology company that provides teachers, school districts, and families with tools helping students improve academic progress, social-emotional development and well-being. … Schools or districts decide what works best for their students, including when and how they administer surveys to students.”
Schmitt also subpoenaed seven Missouri districts back in June as part of the investigation into the use of these surveys, saying at the time, “Subjecting students to personal, invasive surveys created by third-party consultants, potentially without parents’ consent, is ridiculous and does nothing to further our children’s education.”