Last Updated on August 14, 2021
A Rhode Island mom is being sued by the largest teachers’ union in the country over inquiries into critical race theory-themed curriculum. Nicole Salas of Wakefield, Rhode Island was served with a lawsuit by the teacher union NEA-RI (National Education Association Rhode Island) after numerous requests for public records from her school district. “I just got served with a lawsuit from the teacher union NEARI. Throwing down the gauntlet, are we?” Solas tweeted in response to the lawsuit. A day later, the NEA-RI filed for emergency injunctive relief, seeking a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction.
“This lawsuit won’t deter me from asking questions, and I encourage all parents to do the same, so that they are empowered to make informed decisions regarding their children’s education,” Solas said during a recent Fox News appearance. Her attorney, Jon Riches, also commented on the legal action. “This brazen and unprecedented act of intimidation by the NEA will not stand,” Riches said. “Nicole Solas is entitled to know what her daughter’s school is teaching in the classroom. She’s entitled to ask questions. And she does not deserve to face legal action just for asking questions any concerned parent would ask.”
I just got served with a lawsuit from the teacher union NEARI. Throwing down the gauntlet, are we? Game on. pic.twitter.com/9WSpEO14Zy
— Nicole Solas (@Nicoletta0602) August 4, 2021
In April, Solas emailed the principal of her school in the South Kingstown School District with questions about the kindergarten curriculum. She wanted to know if lesson plans borrowed from critical race theory or gender theory and was immediately stonewalled by the district. She was eventually sent a bill for $74,000 to fulfill a public records request that was filed by the Goldwater Institute on her behalf.
Among the records requested were emails between former district superintendent Linda Savastano and a woman named Robin Wildman. Solas requested emails between the two over a period of two years. According to William A Jacobson of Legal Insurrection, Wildman is an “anti-racist” activist. “She’s a CRT activist who is at the center of a complaint Solas filed with the RI Attorney General’s office,” said Jacobson.
In a May 2021 interview with The Collective, Wildman offered several insights into her ideology. “I believe in working for justice, and not equal rights. The difference is, in reality, while you may be offered the same opportunities, you can easily be denied access due to your race because the vast majority of those that control all of the systems in our country are white, due to racism,” Wildman stated. “Justice means breaking down the oppressive systems that prevent BIPOC from accessing opportunities in your community that white people have….. “I feel that as a white woman of privilege it is up to me to create change.”
She also spoke on her involvement with the South Kingstown School District in the interview. “I approached the superintendent with an idea to form a BIPOC group that would look at policies and practices and make recommendations to create a more inclusive, antiracist district .”
In June, The Providence Journal reported that the South Kingstown School Committee was considering legal action against Solas. Committee chairwoman Emily Cummiskey described the possible suit as a “potential injunction” to blunt “a nationally-organized, racist group [attempting] to create chaos and intimidate our district,” at the time. Cummiskey later identified the “racist group” as Parents Defending Education. Cummiskey said the mother’s records requests were distracting from “efforts to make (district schools) more equitable, inclusive, and empowering by eradicating any harmful practices or prejudices through equity and anti-racism teachings.”