A concerned parent in Rhode Island could face a lawsuit from a school district because she requested publicly accessible information through the open-records law about so-called critical race and gender theories (CRT) in the curriculum.
Nicole Solas wrote on Legal Insurrection that she requested public records from South Kingston School District on how CRT and gender theory “are integrated into lessons, school policies, and contracts.”
My child is enrolled in kindergarten and I became concerned that Critical Race Theory (CRT) and gender theory were integrated into lessons when an elementary school principal told me that teachers don’t refer to students as “boys” and “girls.” Additionally, I was told a kindergarten teacher asks five-year-olds, “what could have been done differently on the first Thanksgiving” in order to build upon a “line of thinking about history.” I asked why kids could not be called “boys” and “girls” and was told it was “common practice.” I asked for clarification on the “line of thinking” about history but got no answers. The more questions I asked, the less answers I received.
Solas learned that the school was indeed indoctrinating these young students. She also wanted to tour her child’s school, and the Superintendent, who seemed receptive at first, never followed up with her. The Superintendent later said the school wasn’t offering tours because of COVID-19 yet “offered tours of other schools to campaign for a school bond.”
The school gave Solas the run-around on the records requests until she found a way through. She followed the exacting standards of the records request process and received the public information. However, she saw an unusual item turn up on an upcoming public meeting agenda: “Discussion/Action: Filing lawsuit against Nicole Solas to challenge filing of over 160 APRA requests.”
The school committee claims it was overwhelmed with Solas’s requests, but Solas said she didn’t file 160 requests and that she’d followed the procedure for requesting records. She said that lawyers she’s consulted can’t figure out the basis of the claim. Even the ACLU defended her, calling the school committee’s response “inappropriate.”
The South Kingston School District committee voted not to sue Solas. Why was suing a concerned parent who did nothing wrong even a topic of discussion? The committee apparently believes it still has a claim. The Providence Journal reported that the committee will “pursue mediation with Nicole Solas before taking legal action.”