Six Maryland parents are suing their children’s school board for allegedly forcing their children to read “Pride” themed books without parental knowledge.
The three couples, who come from different religious backgrounds, filed a lawsuit Tuesday in federal court against the Montgomery County Board of Education, alleging the board violated their parental rights.
The lawsuit comes after the school board in October compiled a list of 13 new “LGBTQ-inclusive” books.
The board also allegedly informed parents they could no longer opt their children out of the curriculum.
The school board “claims authority to introduce pre-K and elementary school kids to certain books (the ‘Pride Storybooks”’) that promote one-sided transgender ideology, encourage gender transitioning, and focus excessively on romantic infatuation — with no parental notification or opportunity to opt out,” the lawsuit states.
The parents’ lawsuit argues that the board’s new LGBT book list and the lack of opt-out options violates a state law that requires school boards to notify parents beforehand about any curriculum material related to “sexuality” and allow them to “withdraw the child from the course or lesson.”
The Maryland law states that parents may “object to instructional material and other materials, … if the objection is based on beliefs regarding morality, religion, philosophy, any fundamental value system deemed important by a parent, or the belief that the materials are harmful.”
The board also violated one of its own policies, the lawsuit claims.
The parents’ legal team is asking the court to immediately block the school board’s no parental notice or opt-out option policy.
One of the books on the “Pride” list is titled “Love, Violet” and is meant for children as young as kindergarten. The book is about girls falling in love with other girls.
Another book is titled “Born Ready: The True Story of a Boy Named Penelope,” also aimed at children as young as kindergarten, and teaches children that a girl may actually be a boy.
“Pride Puppy,” aimed at ages three to five, serves as an “introduction to Pride parades for the youngest readers,” according to Publishers Weekly.
The lawsuit also claims that the “Pride” books invites children as young as three to look for images of an “intersex flag,” a “drag king,” a “drag queen,” “leather,” “underwear,” and a picture of “LGBTQ activist and sex worker, Marsha P. Johnson.”
The lawsuit names school board members as well as Superintendent Monifa McKnight of Montgomery County Public Schools, which covers an affluent area directly north of Washington, D.C.
The six parents are Muslim, Catholic, and Orthodox Christian and are being represented by the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, a conservative law firm focused on religious freedom.
“Children are entitled to guidance from their own parents, who know and love them best, regarding how they’ll be introduced to complex issues concerning gender identity, transgenderism, and human sexuality,” said Eric Baxter, vice president and senior counsel at the Becket Fund.
“Like states nationwide, Maryland has long recognized that parents have the right to opt their children out of school activities that conflict with their religious beliefs or push sham science,” Baxter said.