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Union Withdraws Attempt to Obstruct Rhode Island Mom’s Access to Public Records

August 23, 2021

The National Education Association’s state affiliate tried to harass and intimidate Rhode Island mom Nicole Solas into silence just for trying to find out what her daughter would be taught in kindergarten by filing a legally baseless lawsuit against her. The union even went so far as to seek emergency relief from the court to circumvent the public records law and prevent Nicole from receiving public information. 

Today, the union withdrew its baseless request for emergency relief. Nicole has contended since the union first filed this case that the union has no standing and no legal right to bring the action. The union’s voluntary withdraw of its motion appears to recognize the union’s flimsy legal standing. 

Earlier this year, Nicole began making public records requests to find out her daughter’s kindergarten curriculum—doing just as her school district asked her to do. But for making these requests, she was stonewalled and even threatened with legal action. The Goldwater Institute made an additional records request on her behalf—and in response, the South Kingstown School Committee hit her with a $74,000 bill to get the information she sought.

The NEA had asked for a preliminary order from the court that would direct the South Kingstown School Committee to stop responding to Nicole’s public records requests. But today, the union withdrew its extraordinary request, and the School Committee now must still meet its statutory deadlines and other requirements to respond to Nicole’s public records requests.

“Nicole and every parent has every right to know what is being taught in their children’s classrooms,” said Goldwater Institute Director of National Litigation Jon Riches, who represents Nicole. “The union’s reprehensible attempt to harass and intimidate Nicole and other parents was seen today for what it is—a legally baseless assault that will not stand.”

“The public information I’m seeking is not and should not be a government secret, and I will continue to stand up for my right to know what is taught in our children’s schools.” Nicole said. “I hope other parents feel empowered to stand up for their right to know what their kids are learning in school.”

You can read more about Nicole’s story—and what the Goldwater Institute is doing to shine a light on what’s been taught in America’s public schools—here.




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