America’s largest public sector teachers union has filed a lawsuit against a Rhode Island mom after she filed records requests asking, among other things, what her five-year-old daughter would be taught in kindergarten.
The mom, Nicole Solas, is receiving help from the Goldwater Institute as she navigates the legal system and fights back against the National Education Association (NEA), which has a budget of more than $300 million a year.
In April, according to the Goldwater Institute, Solas “emailed the principal of her school in the South Kingstown School District asking for the kindergarten curriculum—and whether it would include teaching children politically charged materials, including those influenced by Critical Race Theory and gender theory, holding them out to be true.”
The school refused to answer, and Solas was allegedly threatened with legal action for asking her questions. The school then sent her a bill for $74,000, claiming that’s how much it cost to fulfill a public records request that the Goldwater Institute filed on Solas’ behalf.
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If that were not enough, Nicole is now facing an unprecedented lawsuit by the NEA, a veritable goliath of a public sector union, representing over 2.3 million people nationwide. She is under attack with the costs and expenses associated with defending herself in a lawsuit for simply acting as a conscientious parent. This is not the first time that the NEA has shown that it’s more concerned with politics and indoctrination than actually helping kids learn and succeed. At the 2019 Representative Assembly of the NEA, the union’s delegates voted down a proposed resolution that called on the organization to “rededicate itself to the pursuit of increased student learning in every public school in America by putting a renewed emphasis on quality education” and “make student learning the priority of the Association.” Nicole, though, is determined to put her daughter’s education first and refuses to be deterred by the union’s politically motivated attack.
The Washington Examiner reported that the NEA argued in its lawsuit that Solas filed nearly 200 requests that were not subject to Rhode Island’s public records law. The outlet reported that the NEA also filed a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction against Solas.
Solas told Goldwater that the NEA had shown their true colors by bullying her.
“The NEA is so determined to push its political agenda that they are willing to expose themselves in a court of law for who they really are: an association of bullies eager to challenge a stay-at-home mom who simply wanted to know what her daughter would be taught,” she said. “This lawsuit won’t deter me from asking questions, and I encourage all parents to do the same, so that they are empowered to make informed decisions regarding their children’s education.”
As Goldwater noted, “Rhode Island law does not permit private parties to seek to punish those who exercise their rights to public information,” so it is unclear how they plan to succeed with their lawsuit.
“This brazen and unprecedented act of intimidation by the NEA will not stand,” said Jon Riches, Director of National Litigation at the Goldwater Institute and the attorney representing Solas. “Nicole Solas is entitled to know what her 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.”
This article has been revised for clarity.