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Rhode Island Mom Involved In Critical Race Public Records Fight And Targeted By NEA Gets High-Powered Legal Help

Rhode Island Mom Involved In Critical Race Public Records Fight And Targeted By NEA Gets High-Powered Legal Help

Nicole Solas “Gets Legal Firepower from Goldwater Institute”

Nicole Solas is the South Kingstown, Rhode Island, mother of a child entering kindergarten in the fall who has been targeted by the School District, School Committee, and Rhode Island School Superintendents Association, after she filed a large number of public records requests regarding Critical Race and Gender teaching in the elementary school.

Solas first told her story in an op-ed at Legal Insurrection, and her story went national with multiple media appearances, including on Fox and Friends, and Tucker Carlson. Here are our posts about her story:

Not only did the full weight of the public educational establishment come down on her, but so did the South Kingstown chapter of the National Education Association, according to documents Solas obtained and posted on Facebook, showing she was the subject of an emergency union meeting, including the slides below allegedly showed on a screen during a union meeting:

The teachers union, NEASK (National Education Association – South Kingstown), held an emergency meeting on June 8 to target and bully me – a parent. These are the leaked slides presented to 250 teachers who didn’t bat an eyelash at formally organizing to target a parent who made public record requests at the direction of the school.

Now Solas has some high-powered legal help. The Goldwater Institute, which has a very strong litigation wing, will be representing Solas according to a press release issued today by Goldwater, Mom in Classroom Fight Gets Legal Firepower from Goldwater Institute:

Nationwide, parents are increasingly alarmed about what their children are being taught in their schools, including controversial lessons about race, gender, and the very founding of our country. Yet across the country, it’s far more difficult than it should be for parents to find out what, exactly, is being taught in the classroom. Today, the Goldwater Institute is taking action on behalf of one conscientious parent who just wants to know what her daughter is learning.

When Nicole Solas’ daughter was starting kindergarten, she sought information from Rhode Island’s South Kingstown School Department about what was going to be taught in her daughter’s classroom. Nicole was especially concerned that some controversial materials, including some on racially charged topics and gender theory, would be presented to her young child.

She submitted an official request under her state’s public records law, which was created in order to make public information available to the public so citizens can know what their government is up to.

Yet despite her repeated requests, Nicole could get no answers from the Department. Several of her requests were denied outright. In other instances, the Department sought to charge Nicole onerous fees. And although the Department itself had instructed Nicole to submit formal records requests—rather than simply answering the questions of a concerned parent—the Department threatened to sue her to prevent her from accessing public information.

That is not the way the law should work. The purpose of public records laws are to open government operations to the public, and the presumption is that all public information will be disclosed. Citizens should never be threatened or punished for seeking public information in good faith.

After nearly three months of delay and gamesmanship, the Department has still not provided Nicole much of the information she is seeking regarding classroom instruction. So the Goldwater Institute is stepping in. On Nicole’s behalf, we have submitted a new public records request to ensure that she can access the information she is entitled to about how her daughter is educated. The Institute will hold the Department accountable if it seeks to evade the law or shield information from disclosure.

Sadly, this is not the first time school officials have tried to penalize parents for requesting information they’re entitled to. Goldwater Institute attorneys previously defended parents who were also sued by a school district in Arizona that did not want to turn over public information about their children’s education. (The Institute prevailed in both the trial court and the court of appeals, where the district’s baseless action against the parents was dismissed.)

Our children’s education should not be a government secret. And school officials should never abuse the law to intimidate parents or keep them in the dark. Nicole and other parents like her have a legal and moral right to know what their children will be taught this fall—and it should not take a lawyer to get that information.

We will continue to follow this story.

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Comments

Solas and Americans like her are courageous beyond belief and exemplify the best that our country has to offer. Ordinary, concerned citizens and parents standing up to confront — at great personal and professional risk — the Dhimmi-crats’ obnoxious, vindictive and brazen totalitarianism.

broomhandle | July 1, 2021 at 9:51 pm

This one keeps getting better. I hope the win is big enough to have a big, positive impact on schools everwhere.

    TX-rifraph in reply to broomhandle. | July 2, 2021 at 8:57 am

    There will be no positive impact as government schools are a concentration of power by design and they have massive forced funding. Only their elimination will bring about positive change. Concentration of power attracts sociopaths/bullies like a porch light attracts moths. If the light is on, the moths show up. These sociopaths align with or are a part of the anti-liberty Democrat Party that is now indistinguishable from the CCP.

JusticeDelivered | July 1, 2021 at 9:57 pm

When I was doing battle with a school district they did attack my children, and that was why I killed mileage. She should not allow them access to her child, of any other children she might have.

What she should do now is sue for damages, with the goal of the school district paying for her child’s private education all the way though college.

While I punished the school, and continue to look for more opportunities, I did not sue, in retrospect, I should have.

    henrybowman in reply to JusticeDelivered. | July 1, 2021 at 11:58 pm

    You keep writing this. I have been assuming you mean “millage.” How did “you kill it?”

    Milhouse in reply to JusticeDelivered. | July 2, 2021 at 1:25 am

    What damages should she sue for? She hasn’t suffered any. The district hasn’t done anything to her. It didn’t sue her, it didn’t even threaten to do so; it merely considered whether to do so and decided not to, presumably because its legal advisers told it that it had no case. Her campaign is 100% right and just, and she should have the best legal help she can get to expose these snakes, but I don’t see how she can get any money out of them.

      4rdm2 in reply to Milhouse. | July 2, 2021 at 8:06 am

      Well, costs imposed for them not giving her what they are obligated by law to give her anyway.

        Milhouse in reply to 4rdm2. | July 2, 2021 at 10:33 am

        They’ve given her everything she’s entitled to. Reluctantly, and complaining all the way, but their lawyers told them they had to, so they did.

      The law allows some monetary compensation for illegally denying people’s access to the records:

      38-2-9. Jurisdiction of superior court.

      (a) Jurisdiction to hear and determine civil actions brought under this chapter is hereby vested in the superior court.

      (b) The court may examine any record which is the subject of a suit in camera to determine whether the record or any part thereof may be withheld from public inspection under the terms of this chapter.

      (c) Actions brought under this chapter may be advanced on the calendar upon motion of any party, or sua sponte by the court made in accordance with the rules of civil procedure of the superior court.

      (d) The court shall impose a civil fine not exceeding two thousand dollars ($2,000) against a public body or official found to have committed a knowing and willful violation of this chapter, and a civil fine not to exceed one thousand dollars ($1,000) against a public body found to have recklessly violated this chapter and shall award reasonable attorney fees and costs to the prevailing plaintiff. The court shall further order a public body found to have wrongfully denied access to public records to provide the records at no cost to the prevailing party; provided, further, that in the event that the court, having found in favor of the defendant, finds further that the plaintiff’s case lacked a grounding in fact or in existing law or in good faith argument for the extension, modification, or reversal of existing law, the court may award attorney’s fees and costs to the prevailing defendant. A judgment in the plaintiff’s favor shall not be a prerequisite to obtaining an award of attorney’s fees and/or costs if the court determines that the defendant’s case lacked grounding in fact or in existing law or a good faith argument for extension, modification or reversal of existing law.

      In that each request was denied without cause of following the procedure for denial, that would be $2,000 per incident.

        Milhouse in reply to gitarcarver. | July 2, 2021 at 10:38 am

        So far they haven’t denied her requests. They’ve bitched about them, but they’ve complied.

        But even if they hadn’t, the $2000 fines wouldn’t go to her. All she’d get would be her attorney’s fees and costs, which would merely make her whole and could not fund her child’s private school education, which is what we’re discussing. This thread is specifically in response to JusticeDelivered’s comment that she should sue them and make big bux, and I just don’t see how that’s possible.

          Question: Did the School District supply all the documents in the time frame required by the statute. (Answer: no.)

          Did the School District tell her any statutory reason for the delays? (Answer: no.)

          The School District may be on the hook for the violations of what they denied in part and what they delayed.

          As for your comment that “[a]ll she’d get would be her attorney’s fees and costs,” that is belied by the statute:

          “The court shall impose a civil fine not exceeding two thousand dollars ($2,000) against a public body or official found to have committed a knowing and willful violation of this chapter, and a civil fine not to exceed one thousand dollars ($1,000) against a public body found to have recklessly violated this chapter and shall award reasonable attorney fees and costs to the prevailing plaintiff. ”

          It is fine PLUS reasonable attorney fees. If you dig a little more, you will see that the person can initiate a claim against the record custodian and the fines goes to that person.

          Will she get rich? No. But it is possible that she gets a good chunk of change depending on how many violations a court finds or rules in her favor for.

          ConradCA in reply to Milhouse. | July 3, 2021 at 8:21 pm

          She filed 200+ requests that for the most part have been ignored. At $2,000 per request that adds up to something like a $400,000 fine.

          Milhouse in reply to Milhouse. | July 4, 2021 at 3:53 am

          Have they been ignored? That’s not what was reported here earlier. According to previous LI reports all the requests have been complied with, but with much complaining. That’s why they wanted to sue her, for daring to make so many requests, which they had told her to do.

      henrybowman in reply to Milhouse. | July 3, 2021 at 1:09 am

      The district pretty definitely slandered her. That’s damages.

      “[Solas] has been linked directly to a national, racist group working to spread chaos, confusion, and dismantle anti-racism in schools nationwide. It’s disturbing to see a nationally-organized, racist group try to impact the quality, inclusive local public education we aim to bring our children here in South Kingstown.”

Union thuggery… a teachable moment.

E Howard Hunt | July 1, 2021 at 11:39 pm

Hmmm, Me thinks her first duty is to her own children, and she should do whatever it takes to enroll them in a good Catholic school.

The fading moral example she sets for her children pales in comparison to the Godless freak show she is consigning them to in the public system.

So Solas is sending her very young child to a school which is fighting her tooth and nail, and which she is fighting via a lawsuit? That’s a very serious commitment to reforming America’s best example of totalitarian socialism. What could possibly go wrong?

Better to spend her time, energy, and financial resources on private or home schooling. Stop playing the enemy’s game.

    henrybowman in reply to gibbie. | July 2, 2021 at 12:00 am

    I am becoming less and less enamored of the tactic of withdrawing, and more and more enamored of the tactic of nuking the bastards where they eat.
    She’s taking one for the team, people, give her your backing.

    TX-rifraph in reply to gibbie. | July 2, 2021 at 9:06 am

    If a football team continues to give up yardage, they eventually find out that they are no longer in the game. They are in the stands watching only one team do whatever it wants. She is genuine Presidential Medal of Freedom material (Presidential as in an elected president, not the Biden type).

    Sociopaths/bullies/CCP want the opposition to surrender. You can see it here at LI with the trolls.

henrybowman | July 1, 2021 at 11:56 pm

“Dear Conservative Parent: We would like to understand you. Who radicalized you?”
(Eerie whisper): “Youuuuuu diiiiiiiiid,”

LukeHandCool | July 2, 2021 at 12:48 am

There should be no such thing as public unions.

After the law changed, I still had to jump through so many hoops to sever ties with my public union. They don’t give a sh*t about changes in the law that are not in their favor. They figure almost all their members will not be aware of such changes, and/or disagree with the changes. They try to make it an exhausting and frustrating process to detach from them to the point that you’ll just give up.

“Hero” is an overused an abused term. War heroes are the truest of heroes. Outside of war heroes, in the realm of normal-life people, this woman is a hero. When you try to fight the public unions and the establishment and their latest intellectual fad, the first thing they do is brand you a dangerous, unhinged trouble maker and a racist/sexist/homophobe/extremist etc.

She’s not doing anything that is life threatening. Nonetheless, she is a hero.

Special thanks to Legal Insurrection and Tucker Carlson for making her story heard. She represents what is good about America.

The problem today is the total corruption of government from the small towns to every federal office.

The politicians and “takers” (those who want everything given them with no contribution on their part) have destroyed the country.

At this point I see no way out of the current mess. The “government” is running amok and the people are not heard.

The people are supposed to be in charge when in fact we have no way to solve this. Try to close your schools due to zero education and you will go to jail.

We need to go back to the place of the first Constitution calling for limited government instead of government for everything.

Just an aside but I just want to commend LI for its practice of listing links to all the related previous posts. That makes LI the “go to” site for anyone who is late to the game and wants to quickly get up to speed. I’ll bet it is very effective.

It’s alarming how CRT can float under the radar using subtle language shifts and curricula that can be brought in via the internet. Teacherspayteachers.com is used by the majority of teachers in public ed.
It is chock full of CRT, BLM, SEL “resources”.
Just take a look.
Even if a school district/state bans CRT, this can easily get through the cracks.

The Superintendent’s Association of Rhode Island publicly stated ““We all know many of our citizens live in a separate news reality with Fox, Newsmax and their ilk”. It is fine for them to constantly spew the Woke verbiage and stupidity of CRT but anyone who doesn’t exactly fall in line must be crazy and conservative, right? No wonder American children are falling like granite slabs when compared academically to students from other countries! We are barely holding our own with third world countries now and the current resident of 1600 Penn. Ave, Washington, DC is leading in education like his present mental capacity. As for the NEA, they are working really hard to become as irrelevant as the AFT. The two unions, combined with the US Dept. of Edumacation need to be disbanded ASAP.

    henrybowman in reply to 20keto20. | July 3, 2021 at 1:13 am

    “We all know many of our citizens live in a separate news reality with Fox, Newsmax and their ilk.”

    Why do all these people insist on listening to Voice of America under the covers?
    Why can’t they be satisfied just reading the truth in Der Stürmer and Izvestia?

It’s the same old Marxist-Leninist public employee, public-sector union, Democrat party corruptocracy that exists at all levels of government, called the “Deep State” of the federal level.

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