Teachers union sues Rhode Island mom over her public records requests about critical race theory

A teachers union has filed a lawsuit against a mom in a bid to block her public records requests about critical race theory.

In April, Nicole Solas sent a lengthy email to the principal of Wakefield Elementary, Rhode Island, where her child attends school, to demand records about the controversial teaching practice.

By June 2, Solas had filed more than 200 broad-scope requests for records, many of which have not yet been fulfilled by the school district. 

This week, the National Education Association Rhode Island filed a lawsuit claiming that Solas’ requests would reveal teachers’ private details and were an ‘unwarranted invasion of personal privacy.’ 

Nicole Solas sent a lengthy email to Coleen Smith - the principal of Wakefield Elementary School, where her child attends school - to acquire a trove of records pertaining to critical race theory and other topics

Nicole Solas sent a lengthy email to Coleen Smith - the principal of Wakefield Elementary School, where her child attends school - to acquire a trove of records pertaining to critical race theory and other topics

Nicole Solas sent a lengthy email to Coleen Smith – the principal of Wakefield Elementary School, where her child attends school – to acquire a trove of records pertaining to critical race theory and other topics

In the lawsuit, the union noted that the school district responded to a recent request on July 13 by releasing more than 6,500 pages of documents – and that school officials still have many pending requests from other filers to which to respond.

The union asked that the court prohibit the disclosure of non-public records and delay the release of records that contain identifiable personal information of teachers and officials within the district to maintain their ‘individual privacy rights.’

School board members had also previously considered suing Solas over the incredible number of records requested but decided against it.

Jennifer Azevedo, deputy director of NEARI, said the union is asking the court to determine if its members’ privacy rights ‘outweigh the public interest,’ according to Fox News.

‘We believe they do, and those records should either not be disclosed or should be redacted accordingly,’ Azevedo said.

DailyMail.com has reached out to the NEARI for more information and additional comment.

The requests Solas made were filed with the district under the state’s Access to Public Records Act, which gives individuals the right to see and obtain public records – including some emails.

However, the law does not require agencies to reorganize or compile requested data by creating a new document.

The lawsuit states that the massive scope of Solas’ request included asking for a thorough documentation of book titles and their authors in the school’s library and classrooms, among other documents – many of which don’t exist, are not public or could contain personal information.  

 

Solas responded to the lawsuit in comments made to Twitter, blasting NEARI for 'bullying moms'

Solas responded to the lawsuit in comments made to Twitter, blasting NEARI for 'bullying moms'

Solas responded to the lawsuit in comments made to Twitter, blasting NEARI for ‘bullying moms’

According to the ACLU in Rhode Island, ‘there are more than two-dozen exemptions to what records are accessible to the public, many of them designed to protect individual privacy.’ 

‘Investigatory records of public bodies are also largely exempt. However, an entire document cannot be withheld if only part of it contains information that is exempted from disclosure,’ the ACLU noted.

‘In those instances, the documents should be provided with only the exempt information deleted. If an entire record is withheld, the public body must certify that no portion of the document is releasable.’

The lawsuit, filed by the National Education Association Rhode Island, asked that the court prohibit the disclosure of non-public records and delay the release of records that contain identifiable personal information

The lawsuit, filed by the National Education Association Rhode Island, asked that the court prohibit the disclosure of non-public records and delay the release of records that contain identifiable personal information

The lawsuit, filed by the National Education Association Rhode Island, asked that the court prohibit the disclosure of non-public records and delay the release of records that contain identifiable personal information

Solas responded to the lawsuit in comments made to Twitter, blasting NEARI for ‘bullying moms.’

‘I just got served with a lawsuit from the teacher union NEARI. Throwing down the gauntlet, are we? Game on,’ she tweeted. 

Solas also appeared in an interview with Fox News, in which she slammed school officials for being ’employed by the state and also demand(ing) immunity from public scrutiny.’

‘That’s not how open government works in America. Academic transparency is not a collective bargaining negotiation. It’s a parental right,’ she said.

The blog site In Defense of Liberty noted that Solas received a bill for $74,000 to fulfill just one of the requests filed on her behalf by Goldwater Institute in July. 

The ACLU notes that an agency can charge up to 15 cents a page for copying records and up to $15 per hour for the search or retrieval of documents. It was not immediately clear how much the South Kingston School District charges per page.

The Rhode Island saga represents just the latest example of parents frustrated with school officials for teaching the controversial Critical Race Theory.  

Link hienalouca.com

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