HomeSchool Reform NewsTeachers Unions Go to Court To Deter Critical Race Theory Disclosure

Teachers Unions Go to Court To Deter Critical Race Theory Disclosure

By Sarah Parshall Perry

The nation’s teachers unions are running scared over critical race theory pushback at the grassroots level.

The unions underestimated parents, educators, and school board members who don’t want children being taught how to be good little racists. In response, the National Education Association employed a new trick: It’s suing a parent for asking too many questions about whether CRT was being taught.

Two state affiliates of a 2.3 million-member labor organization took it upon themselves to sue Nicole Solas, a stay-at-home mom from Rhode Island, for asking questions about her daughter’s curriculum. The lawsuit shows just how much of a political outfit the NEA truly is. But it also illustrates just how unconcerned the NEA actually is with the children its members are charged with teaching!

There’s more to the story.

In a gaffe of epic proportions, the NEA, in its complaint against Solas and others, has just sworn under oath that CRT is, in fact, being used in schools. It’s an admission that contradicts the union’s vehement denial of the use of CRT in schools. That was the centerpiece of its strategy to get objecting parents just to shut up and go away.

Whoops.

Under both federal and state law, Solas had a right to examine the curriculum being used in her public school district. After the principal of her child’s elementary school explained that educators and administrators at the school did not refer to students as “girls” and “boys,” but instead used gender-inclusive pronouns, Solas submitted more than 200 requests for information centering on whether and how the school’s children would be taught materials influenced by CRT and gender theory. Critical race and gender theory spring from the same Marxist fount and are often taught side by side.

At first, Solas was obstructed from obtaining the information she’d sought from the school. Then she was threatened with legal action for the number of information requests she’d submitted. She was even handed a bill for $74,000 to fulfill just one of the requests filed in July.

The NEA felt Solas had gone too far, and on Aug. 2, it sued her personally. But in paragraphs 67 and 70 of the verified complaint, Jennifer Azevedo, the deputy executive director of the NEA’s Rhode Island chapter, admits the union’s use of CRT in schools as part of student curricula, something it had previously worked so hard to hide.

The NEA also claims that Solas requested materials that are not covered by the Access to Public Records Act—Rhode Island’s disclosure law. Specifically, “Personal emails, labor relations materials, personnel records.” This claim is accompanied by the NEA’s plaintive wail that teachers “who are identifiable and have engaged in discussions about things like CRT will then be the subject of teacher harassment by national conservative groups opposed to critical race theory.”

In short: Please, guys, no more questions!

A day after filing its suit against Solas, the NEA also filed for a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction against her so as to prevent the South Kingstown, Rhode Island, school board from having to “[respond] to public record requests referenced in the Verified Complaint, unless and until a determination can be made that such documents are required to be released pursuant to the Access to Public Records Act.”

One of the Left’s new buzzwords, one invoked regularly in CRT discussions, is “equity.” Once meaning the unequal treatment of individuals, it has been manipulated by the progressive intelligentsia to mean unequal treatment to obtain equal outcomes and to benefit certain individuals. Particularly those deemed “disadvantaged.”

The Left loves “equity,” and equity demands the unequal application of the law. Unequal or disingenuous application of disclosure laws, for instance.

Cornell law professor William Jacobson has noted that the NEA’s participation at this early stage in the records request “smells collusive” and that their rush to court seems “peculiar, at best.” After all, while the lawsuit purports to prevent disclosure of “private” information, the public records laws and Solas’s document requests only require the production of public records, those stemming from the performance of business by a public agency.

The school district has already asserted document exemptions and redacted certain information, so why the lawsuit?

The NEA, mission central for leftist indoctrination, seems to believe it can manipulate the application of state law the way it can public opinion. For her part, Solas and counsel Jon Riches, director of National Litigation at the Goldwater Institute, are undaunted.

Considering the NEA’s explicit admission, after its long denial, that it’s teaching CRT in schools, and its obvious anxiety that the public might find out which teachers are using this as part of their curriculum, this game promises to be one worth watching.

 

This piece originally appeared in the Washington Examiner. Republished with permission.

Sarah Parshall Perry
Sarah Parshall Perry is a Legal Fellow for the Edwin Meese III Center for Legal and Judicial Studies at The Heritage Foundation.

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