Nicole Solas is a Rhode Island mother who raised the ire of the NEA teachers union and the attention of national media when she stood up at a school board meeting to demand school records on Critical Race Theory in the classroom. Solas first told her story to Legal Insurrection.
I am a mother in the South Kingstown School District in Rhode Island investigating through public records requests how critical race and gender theories are integrated into lessons, school policies, and contracts. Now the School Committee is considering suing me to stop me.
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 says she’s been stymied around every corner.
I also asked to see the elementary school curriculum. I asked the principal, the school committee, the superintendent, the director of curriculum, and even the legal department at the Rhode Island Department of Education to allow me to view the curriculum. The school’s Director of Curriculum told me she was unavailable and never responded when I said I could view the curriculum on any day and time. Then a school committee member directed me to file an Access to Public Records Act (APRA) request on the school district website to obtain the curriculum. After thirty days, I received an incomplete curriculum and filed an APRA complaint with the Attorney General.
As it turns out, the Rhode Island mother’s fears have come true. On Wednesday, she received a complaint from the National Education Association, suing her to cease and desist her inquiries. The complaint accuses Solas of seeking to disclose “private” records, an astonishing claim from a public school. Legal Insurrection’s William A. Jacobson says it smells like “collusion.”
My initial take is that this smells collusive. South Kingstown doesn’t want to produce records and the union is helping them out. The lawsuit purports to prevent disclosure of “private” information, but the public records laws and Solas’ requests pursuant to those laws only require the district to produce public records. The district has been very aggressive in asserting exemptions and redacting documents, so the union’s concern and rush to court seems peculiar, at best.
UPDATE: At the time of publication of this article news has broken that the Rhode Island NEA is filing an injunction against Solas to prevent the release of Critical Race Theory documents to the Solas camp.
The Rhode Island branches of the National Education Association filed suit against the South Kingstown School District, School Committee, and local mom Nicole Solas, arguing that public records requests filed by Solas should not be complied with.
This brings up a legitimate question.
Just what exactly are they scared of people seeing?
Solas has been singled out by the unions in the recent past. They even went so far as to single her out as an adversary in the state branch of an NEA membership meeting. It was no surprise to her to finally receive an official complaint.
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
Legal Insurrection was the first outlet to report on Solas’ efforts, and as thus they have an excellent legal breakdown of the complaint which I highly recommend reading. You can read the official complaint below.
Critical Race Theory has been the issue that has finally driven parents to chip a hole in the opaque windows of public school and take a peek inside. The teachers unions – used to working in a protected class with almost no accountability – are squirming under the sunlight. Solas has fired one shot, but it won’t be the last, and they know it…and it’s driving them crazy.