- The Washington Times
Monday, August 23, 2021

The National Education Association has withdrawn its request for a preliminary injunction and a temporary restraining order against a Rhode Island parent seeking information on public schools’ implementation of critical race theory, according to the parent’s attorney.

The NEA, one of the two most powerful teachers’ unions, filed suit earlier this month against Nicole Solas.

Ms. Solas has been engaged in a protracted and contentious effort to pry information from South Kingstown District school officials over changes they have made to elementary schools’ curriculums and atmosphere.

Ms. Solas has a daughter who will enter kindergarten this year.

The union followed up the lawsuit, which remains active, with a request in state court that Ms. Solas be barred from making further public-records requests and essentially be cut off from communication with the district, a move her attorneys denounced as “intimidation.”

“I’m hopeful this will set the precedent that unions can’t bully parents who might have questions about what’s going on in their schools,” Ms. Solas told The Washington Times. “I don’t want parents to be discouraged from asking questions.”

The Goldwater Institute that is representing Ms. Solas welcomed the NEA‘s voluntary withdrawal of the additional motions.

Her attorneys with the conservative Goldwater Institute also welcomed the NEA‘s voluntary withdrawal of the additional motions.

Nicole and every parent has every right to know what is being taught in their children’s classrooms,” said Jon Riches, the Goldwater Institute’s director of national litigation. “The union’s reprehensible attempt to harass and intimate Nicole and other parents was seen today for what it is — a legally baseless assault that will not stand.”

Phone messages with the NEA‘s Rhode Island branch were not immediately returned Monday.

Ms. Solas had filed roughly 200 public records requests with South Kingstown public schools, requests she said were necessary because school officials stonewalled her inquiries which began when she learned children were not to be called “boys” and “girls.”

In response, the school tried to bill Ms. Solas $74,000 in copying fees, and the local school committee entertained filing its own lawsuit against her.

The ongoing battle, which has also seen the resignations of school board committee members and the former South Kingstown superintendent this summer, has made Rhode Island one of several hotspots nationwide over the injection of critical race theory principles into K-12 education.

Critical race theorists, who support what they label an “anti-racist” ideology, believe racial power imbalances lie at the core of all social interaction in the United States.

America is steeped in White supremacist thinking, and consequently its institutions were designed to perpetuate and strengthen racist goals, according to this pedagogy.

Birthed in graduate and law schools, critical race theory has come to stand for the “anti-racist” curriculum, training and materials that have sparked outcries from parents and taxpayers in multiple states.

At least a dozen state legislatures have now passed or are mulling measures that would ban the ideology from public and charter K-12 schools.

Both the NEA and the American Federation of Teachers vowed this summer to back the implementation of critical race theory into public schools, both by pursuing legal action against bans and by paying for opposition research on groups formed to oppose the ideology.

“It’s pretty hard not to see what’s happening to me here as not part of that pledge,” Ms. Solas said.

• James Varney can be reached at jvarney@washingtontimes.com.

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