‘Parents Not Welcome’: Rhode Island Mom Sues School District Over Secret Meetings

"Closed to the public—parents not welcome."
UNITED STATES - 2008/10/27: School bus with retracting safety stop sign. (Photo by John Greim/LightRocket via Getty Images)
John Greim/LightRocket via Getty Images

A Rhode Island mom is suing her child’s school district for barring parents from secret meetings.

Nicole Solas tried to attend a meeting of the South Kingstown School District’s taxpayer-funded Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) Advisory Board before enrolling her daughter in kindergarten, but she was denied access, she said.

“Closed to the public—parents not welcome” is the message Solas got from the South Kingstown School Committee about attending the meeting, according to the conservative Goldwater Institute, which is representing Solas in court.

The board’s chairperson denied Solas’ request to attend a meeting, and then school committee personnel ignored her other attempts to contact them and get access, she said.

The BIPOC Advisory Board was empowered to make policy recommendations and set to discuss topics including the curriculum, hiring, discipline, and accountability, among other issues that affect students, including Solas’ daughter, according to her attorneys.

On Wednesday, Solas filed a lawsuit against the school district, accusing it of conducting public business secretly, violating the state’s Open Meetings Act.

“Every meeting of all public bodies shall be open to the public,” with few exceptions, the law states.

Solas has been battling with the school district since last year after asking what her kindergartener would be learning.

When she called the school and asked, the school told her “they don’t call children ‘boys’ and ‘girls,’”  and that officials “embed the values of gender identity into the classroom at every grade at an age-appropriate level,” she said. Solas also said she asked about Critical Race Theory and was told that the school asks five-year-olds, “What could have been done differently on the first Thanksgiving?”

The school district later informed Solas that the public records she requested on the curriculum would cost $74,000, and she was sued by the nation’s largest public-sector teachers union, the National Education Association.

Solas said the district “outright lied to parents” and that she “did everything I could to avoid a lawsuit.”

“There was almost nothing the committee didn’t touch. And I wasn’t allowed to see any of it,” she told The Daily Wire.

“When you treat parents like adversaries, they will respond like adversaries,” Solas said. “When schools don’t listen to parents, they’ll have to listen to lawsuits. With enough lawsuits brought by parents, public schools will learn that egregious abuses of power have real consequences. This is beyond a culture war now. It’s a constitutional war. And that war will be won in the courtroom. Lawyer up, parents.”

Over the last two years, parents across the country have gone head to head with public school districts on a range of issues, sometimes giving school boards a piece of their mind at school board meetings.

Arizona also has an Open Meeting law, and the Scottsdale Unified School District allegedly violated it recently when it attempted to silence public comment during school board meetings, including about a proposed mask mandate.

Even in liberal Beverly Hills, California, parents showed up to their local school board meeting in May to express their shock and disappointment with the district’s sex-ed classes for ten-year-olds.

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The Daily Wire   >  Read   >  ‘Parents Not Welcome’: Rhode Island Mom Sues School District Over Secret Meetings