South Kingstown, RI – A Rhode Island mother who demanded to know more about the Critical Race Theory curriculum being taught at her daughter’s public school is now being sued by the teachers’ union.
The National Education Association Rhode Island (EARI) has alleged Nicole Solas’ public records requests potentially violate teacher privacy, and claimed keeping those names on documents Solas is requesting could put those teachers at risk of being harassed by conservative groups and individuals, FOX News reported.
“Given the circumstances of the requests, it is likely that any teachers who are identifiable and have engaged in discussions about things like critical race theory will then be the subject of teacher harassment by national conservative groups opposed to critical race theory,” the lawsuit alleged.
Solas has made at least 200 public records requests during her quest to learn more about critical race theory in her daughter’s school district.
She said she believes the lawsuit is “purely an intimidation tactic,” The Daily Signal reported.
She explained that when she enrolled her daughter in school, she wanted to know if they were teaching anything about anti-racism or gender theory, so she called the school’s principal.
“I was told that they don’t refer to kids as boys and girls,” Solas told FOX News. “I was also told that they refrain from using gender terminology in general.”
“In terms of anti-racism, I was told that kids in kindergarten are asked, ‘What could’ve been done differently on Thanksgiving?’” she continued. “This struck me as a way to shame children for their American heritage.”
She told FOX News she didn’t receive “clear or meaningful answers” as she continued to ask questions, so she requested to see the curriculum.
“I got a lot of runaround,” Solas said.
The concerned mother said the principal and the school committee told her to submit a public records request using a link on the school’s website.
She ultimately received a copy of the curriculum, but it didn’t contain the information she had asked the principal about, according to Solas.
She then started submitting her questions in the form of public records requests.
“I had a lot of questions, so I had a lot of public records requests,” Solas confirmed.
The school ultimately told her it would cost her $75,000 to get her hands on the information she has asked for.
“It’s really disappointing,” Solas told FOX News. “I understand now why a lot of parents don’t engage my school district because its very expensive to do so, and you just end up ignored, bullied, and evaded.”
Solas’ attorney, Jon Riches, said state law does not authorize what the NEARI is attempting to do, The Daily Signal reported.
“Nicole did what any conscientious parent would do,” Riches said. “She sought out information about what her child is going to learn, and from Day One, she was stonewalled. First, she was stonewalled by the district. Now, she is being intimidated by the union.”
NEARI argued teachers should not be subject to potential backlash that could result if the records were to be released, FOX News reported.
The lawsuit against Solas and the South Kingstown School Committee was filed on Monday, The Daily Signal reported.
On Thursday, the teachers’ union also asked the state superior court to grant a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction to block the inquisitive mother’s requests.
Today the teacher union NEA filed ANOTHER lawsuit against me – this time a Temporary Restraining Order and Preliminary Injunction. Will teacher unions bullying moms be an everyday thing now? pic.twitter.com/6WxQ8KTAFD
— Nicole Solas (@Nicoletta0602) August 5, 2021
“We are asking the Court to conduct a balancing test to determine whether our members’ privacy rights outweigh the public interest,” NEARI Deputy Director Jennifer Azevedo told FOX News. “We believe they do, and those records should either not be disclosed or should be redacted accordingly.”
NEARI asked the court to examine the records and to redact “information which may lead to the identity of such teachers” for documents that aren’t determined to constitute a “clearly unwarranted invasion of privacy,” FOX News reported.
Solas said parents have every right to know what their children are being taught at school.
“You cannot be employed by the state and also demand immunity from public scrutiny. That’s not how open government works in America,” she argued. “Academic transparency is not a collective bargaining negotiation. It’s a parental right.”
The American Federation of Teachers (AFT) and the National Education Association (NEA) have both being fighting back against efforts to stop critical race theory from being taught in schools, FOX News reported.
The NEA vowed to combat “anti-CRT rhetoric,” and said it would “research the organizations attacking educators doing anti-racist work and/or use the research already done and put together a list of resources and recommendations for state affiliates, locals, and individual educators to utilize when they are attacked,” according to the news outlet.
“I think it is really important for parents to start asking more questions because the more parents that ask more questions, the harder it will be for schools to retaliate against a lot of parents,” Solas said.
She has enrolled her daughter in private school in the meantime, The Daily Signal reported.