Victory in Mother’s Fight Against RI School District’s Lies

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In today’s politically charged environment, where schools around the country are turning their classrooms into breeding grounds for bias and discrimination, Nicole wanted to know if she was sending her daughter into a den of Critical Race Theory, gender identity, hate, and racial bias. And for good reason: In 2020, the South Kingstown School Committee established the BIPOC Advisory Board to determine if school district policies did not promote “inclusivity” and “equity,” for a more “inclusive and antiracist” district. After the board denied Nicole’s requests to open the meetings to the public, she sought transparency though Rhode Island’s public records law—only for the district to deny the very existence of public records regarding the board meetings when officials had those records in their possession.

Earlier this year, we filed a lawsuit on Nicole’s behalf, demanding production of these records and a civil fine against school officials for their knowing and willful violation of state public records law.

On Monday, Rhode Island Superior Court Justice Joseph McBurney approved a consent judgment with the district to “provide Plaintiff with copies of the responsive records forthwith and at no cost to Plaintiff.” The court also approved the parties’ consent for the school district to pay attorney’s fees, as well as a civil fine against the school district.

But it should never have had to come to this. Schools have a legal duty to comply with state public records laws as well as to inform parents what they are teaching their children; and parents have an absolute right and obligation to be involved in their children’s education.

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