Nicole Solas reportedly filed close to 200 public records requests after her South Kingstown, RI school district refused to answer her questions about how gender and race will be taught in the classroom. She almost faced a lawsuit because of it.
The Blaze reports that Solas enrolled her daughter in kindergarten. Her daughter would start in the 2021-2022 academic year in the South Kingstown school district. The principal was sure to tell Solas that children would not be referred to as “boys and girls.” Only gender-neutral pronouns would be used.
Solas grew concerned about the curriculum. She said, “I was also told that they refrain from using gendered terminology in general terms of anti-racism. I was told that kids in kindergarten are asked what could have been done differently at Thanksgiving, and this struck me as a way to shame children for their American heritage.”
Solas started asking questions about the school’s curriculum, but she was not getting answers. On the recommendation of a school committee member, she began filing the Access to Public Records Act (ARPA) requests. Eventually, she filed 200 requests.
The department met with her requests in a timely fashion but charged her close to $10,000 because of the time it took them to process the information. After some pushback from Solas and condensing the requests into a digital format, they agreed to lower the price to $79.50, as The Providence Journal shares.
The South Kingstown School Committee considered suing Solas because of all the requests.
WPRI 12, a local news station in Rhode Island, shared some statements from South Kingstown School Committee Chairwoman Emily Cummiskey. She said, “Each request pulls staff hours away from our school priorities, on top of requiring expensive hourly legal fees for each review. This is an overwhelming burden that is unsustainable for our district, and an irresponsible spend of taxpayer dollars.”
Cummiskey added, “It’s disappointing, and extremely disheartening, to see an individual, particularly one without a child in our schools, work so hard to harm these efforts, and in turn, send a message to our students and families that anti-racism education is not valued. Racism and hate have no place in our district.”
The district did not file a lawsuit and decided mediation was the best way to handle the situation. Yet, Solas, whose daughter is set to attend the school in the fall, was called “racist” because of her requests. In response, Solas said the claim was “false” and “defamatory.” She called for the immediate resignation of the chair of the school committee.
In defense of her stance, Solas told The Providence Journal that “‘Equity’ is CRT codeword for discriminating based on race to achieve equal outcomes. The School Committee should focus on ‘equality,’ treating students without regard to race. Why is the School Committee so obsessed with treating students based on skin color? We need answers, not lawsuits against parents.”
Solas said it is the duty of parents to find out what is being taught in the classroom.
At NWEF, we value your opinion. How do you think the topics of race and gender should be discussed in the classroom? Should parents have access to any school information they want?