A school committee in Rhode Island has voted to not sue a woman for filing what they said were over 200 separate public records requests about the integration of critical race theory into lessons and school policies.
In a unanimous vote, the South Kingstown School Committee on June 2 agreed to pursue mediation with Nicole Solas before taking legal action, the Providence Journal reported.
A 38-year-old mother whose daughter attends kindergarten, Solas said she began filing requests through the state’s Access to Public Records Act (APRA) after local school officials appeared to be reluctant to clarify her concerns about how issues such as race, gender, and U.S. history are being taught in schools.
“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,'” Solas wrote in an op-ed published on conservative news website Legal Insurrection. “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.'”
Critical race theory (CRT) is an ideology rooted in Marxist class struggle, but with an emphasis on race, with the goal of dismantling all social institutions it deems inherently racist.
Solas said the South Kingstown School District complied with her initial APRA request, but wanted to charge her $9,570 for gathering the information. The price tag dropped to $79.50 after she submitted numerous “specific and narrow” requests and only asked for digital copies.
“I felt like I had cracked the code to this mystery of inaccessible information,” she wrote.
In response, the South Kingston School Committee held a vote on whether to sue Solas because of all the public record requests, which they claim to be associated with an unspecified “racist group” and a waste of their time.
“More than 200 APRA requests have been filed by a single individual in just the last few weeks alone—an individual who has no children in our School District—demanding more than 300 hours of our District’s time to these records requests, time that should be dedicated to keeping our schools running successfully,” South Kingstown School Committee Chairwoman Emily Cummiskey said in a June 2 statement.
“This issue is a much larger one—one that involves a disturbing attempt by a nationally organized, racist group to create chaos and intimidate our district in recent weeks as we discuss bringing equity and anti-racism curriculum to our schools,” Cummiskey said, using terms popular with CRT advocates. “This is their MO nation-wide, and I anticipate other districts in our state will soon experience the same unfortunate influx we have.”
Solas said she isn’t afraid of a potential lawsuit, and won’t stop asking questions. She also encouraged Americans with similar concerns to find out what is being taught to their children at school.
“Every parent needs to keep asking questions,” she said. “Every parent needs to submit more public records requests when they do not receive answers to their questions from school leaders.”