Who is Nicole Solas? Rhode Island mom sued by NEA after she spams school with questions on CRT
State and local branches of the National Education Association filed a lawsuit against a Rhode Island mother who initiated hundreds of public records requests seeking information about whether her daughter’s school curriculum included principles of critical race theory.
The lawsuit names in defendants the South Kingstown School Committee, “by and through its members, Christie Fish, Kate McMahon Macinanti, Melissa Boyd, Michelle Brousseau, and Paula Whitford”, the South Kingstown School Department, “by and through its Acting Interim Superintendent Ginamarie Masiello, Nicole Solas, and John Doe Hartman.” The complaint was filed on Monday, August 2 to “protect teachers' privacy rights.”
Who is Nicole Solas?
As per the lawsuit, in April 2021, Solas allegedly sent an e-mail to the principal of a South Kingstown School with a “list of questions and/or requests for records designed to gather information about, among other things, whether the school teaches critical race theory or otherwise includes it and other related concepts in its curriculum.” However, by June 2, the complaint stated that Solas had allegedly filed about two hundred Access to Public Records Act requests, “many of which contain multiple requests within the request.”
The complaint also alleged that following the discussion of a possible challenge to Solas’ APRA requests, Solas appeared on Fox News and on various websites, “garnering national attention to her dispute with the School Committee concerning her requests, and her concerns regarding the critical race theory.”
As per a Fox News report, Solas appeared on the network and said, "You cannot be employed by the state and also demand 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."
Speaking with a local NBC News affiliate, Solas, who resides in Wakefield, a village in the town of South Kingstown, admitted that she had filed more than 200 public records requests with the school district after it refused to answer questions about how race and gender are discussed in the classroom. Solas' questions reportedly began when she was told by the principal at Wakefield Elementary School that teachers no longer refer to students as boys and girls, opting to use inclusive gender pronouns instead. She said that conversation prompted additional questions about how South Kingstown schools discuss what's known as critical race theory.
As per the same report, the list of pending requests include requests such as "All emails to or from Linda Savastano containing the world 'race'," "All emails to or from Linda Savastano continuing (sp) the word, 'whiteness'," and "All lesson plans in which the concept of 'whiteness' as a social construct is discussed, at all grade levels." Superintendent Savastano resigned in the wake of the political mailer controversy earlier in June.
In a filing dated Thursday, August 5, the National Education Association of Rhode Island requested a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction from the state's superior court. Solas tweeted about how the unions had filed for a temporary restraining order. “Today the teacher union NEA filed ANOTHER lawsuit against me - this time a Temporary Restraining Order and Preliminary Injunction. Will teacher unions bullying moms be an everyday thing now?” she wrote.
Today the teacher union NEA filed ANOTHER lawsuit against me - this time a Temporary Restraining Order and Preliminary Injunction. Will teacher unions bullying moms be an everyday thing now? pic.twitter.com/6WxQ8KTAFD— Nicole Solas (@Nicoletta0602) August 5, 2021
Jennifer Azevedo, who serves as deputy director of the National Education Association Rhode Island said in a statement, "We are asking the Court to conduct a balancing test to determine whether our members’ privacy rights outweigh the public interest. We believe they do, and those records should either not be disclosed or should be redacted accordingly."