By MICHAEL BALSAMO
WASHINGTON (AP) — Attorney General Merrick Garland has defended a Justice Department memo aimed at combating threats and violence against teachers, administrators and other school officials. Congressional Republicans are insisting Garland rescind the directive, but he’s signaling he has no plans to do so despite their criticism. The memo took center stage as Garland appeared before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday. Garland says the memo was meant to respond to violence and threats of violence directed against local school board officials. Republicans say Garland went too far in instructing Justice Department divisions to coordinate with local law enforcement.