The school contests that the woman's request for copies of the teachers' email constitutes a violation of privacy.
The critical race theory has become a controversial topic in the United States in recent months, with conservatives and the right-wing doubling down on their claim that any study of racism in American, past, and present, will cause more division. A Mom from Rhode Island, Nicole Solas, is being sued for repeatedly asking questions on the curriculum at her kindergarten-aged daughter's school including whether the school teaches critical race theory and anti-racism. A teacher's union has filed a suit to block compliance with her public information requests on various matters citing the requests include copies of teachers' emails, which the union argues is a violation of teacher's privacy, reported Yahoo News. The suit argues that Solas' public information requests, nearly 200 of them, were concerning materials that are not subject to Rhode Island's public records law.
I just got served with a lawsuit from the teacher union NEARI. Throwing down the gauntlet, are we? Game on. pic.twitter.com/9WSpEO14Zy— Nicole Solas (@Nicoletta0602) August 4, 2021
The suit filed by the National Education Association has sought a judge's ruling to prohibit the disclosure of the recorded requested citing Rhode Island's public records law. The union has sought a restraining order and an injunction so local school districts can hold off until a judgment has been made on the case. Solas has sought the curriculum of all grades including materials discussing race relations, Black Lives Matter, and transgenderism. Solas has also requested digital copies of teachers, and the union contests that turning over a teacher's emails "would constitute a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy," the complaint said.
The union also disclosed in the complaint that the South Kingstown School Committee, which is also a defendant in the case, provided nearly 6,500 pages of documents in compliance with the requests on July 13. Solas hit out at the lawsuit, calling it a "brazen and unprecedented act of intimidation" by the union. "Teacher unions now target stay-at-home moms," she wrote on Twitter. Nicole has also received a bill for $74,000 to fulfill a public records request filed by the Goldwater Institute on her behalf in July.
"I believe this NEA lawsuit is collusive litigation where the school and union set up this lawsuit behind closed doors, each agreeing to play plaintiff and defendant. The school is more than happy to agree not to fulfill my record requests in court," said Solas, reported Townhall. Her attorney Jon Riches, who is director of national litigation at the conservative Goldwater Institute, said she deserves to know what 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.”
School Committee Chair Emily Cummiskey had reportedly claimed that Solas' requests were "an attempt to wreak havoc" and "a clear attempt to harm our district." She also alleged that Solas was "linked directly to a national racist group called Parents Defending Education (PDE), working to spread chaos and confusion and dismantle anti-racism education." PDE is a national advocacy group that claims to oppose anti-racist efforts in schools but Liz King, the director of education policy at the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, stated that the group's complaints only sought to scupper efforts to learn about its racist past, reported Ed Week. “They want to shut down even the mere discussion of racial inequity, because they know the discussion is a precondition to real solutions,” said King. “The problem is not acknowledging those inequities. The problem is failing to remedy those inequities. They are asking the federal government to intervene and shut down a conversation.”
After Emily Cummiskey was heavily criticized, she resigned as chairperson, urging people to come together for the kids. “We’re in a dangerous place, we’re a little microcosm of what has happened on the national level,” said Cummiskey said. “I implore everyone to take a step back and try to come together. Do it for our kids. It feels that right when we are on the brink of real change — change that would bring our district back to the top — bullies, elitists, slander, lies, trial by social media, they’re all prevailing,” said Cummiskey, possibly referring to efforts by the people to stop teaching kids being taught about Critical race theory. While conservative media voices claim that CRT is divisive, it's nothing but a study of America's racist past, including slavery, and explaining systemic racism prevalent in today's America.