A Rhode Island mother is being sued by the nation’s largest teachers’ union after she requested information about what was being taught to her kindergartener.
The legal conflict stems from a request Nicole Solas made via email to the principal of her daughter’s school in the South Kingstown School District when she was told that teachers would no longer be referring to children as “boys and girls” and would be using gender-neutral pronouns instead, according to WJAR.
She had wanted to know, as many parents themselves are starting to wonder about their children’s public school lesson plans as of late, about the curriculum being taught and whether it would contain the promotion of either critical race theory or gender theory.
The Goldwater Institute, which is representing Solas, says that she was immediately stonewalled by the school and “even a threat of legal action for asking too many questions,” as she made her requests, which totaled 200 by the time the local National Education Association, which nationally represents nearly half the public school teachers in the United States, responded with a lawsuit.
“Ultimately, Nicole received a bill for $74,000 to fulfill a public records request filed by the Goldwater Institute on her behalf in July,” the law firm explained.
“This brazen and unprecedented act of intimidation by the NEA will not stand,” said the Goldwater Institute’s Director of National Litigation Jon Riches, who is representing Solas. “Nicole Solas is entitled to know what her daughter’s school is teaching in the classroom. She’s entitled to ask questions. And she does not deserve to face legal action just for asking questions any concerned parent would ask.”
Solas is named as a defendant on the lawsuit filed in Rhode Island Superior Court last week to “protect teachers’ privacy rights,” NEARI Communication Director Stephanie DeSilva Mandeville announced, according to WJAR.
“This action seeks to temporarily restrain the School Department from releasing any information related to these APRA requests,” the NEA Rhode Island wrote in a statement. “NEARI believes many of these documents are not public records as defined under APRA and/or fall under APRA’s exclusions and therefore are not subject to disclosure.”
We are asking the Court to conduct a balancing test to determine whether our members’ privacy rights outweigh the public interest,” the union’s Deputy Executive Director Jennifer Azevedo said in a statement. “We believe they do, and those records should either not be disclosed or should be redacted accordingly.”
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