By Mairead Elordi, featuring Nicole Solas, IWF senior fellow

A Rhode Island mom is suing her child’s school district for barring parents from secret meetings.

Nicole Solas tried to attend a meeting of the South Kingstown School District’s taxpayer-funded Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) Advisory Board before enrolling her daughter in kindergarten, but she was denied access, she said.

“Closed to the public—parents not welcome” is the message Solas got from the South Kingstown School Committee about attending the meeting, according to the conservative Goldwater Institute, which is representing Solas in court.

The board’s chairperson denied Solas’ request to attend a meeting, and then school committee personnel ignored her other attempts to contact them and get access, she said.

The BIPOC Advisory Board was empowered to make policy recommendations and set to discuss topics including the curriculum, hiring, discipline, and accountability, among other issues that affect students, including Solas’ daughter, according to her attorneys.

On Wednesday, Solas filed a lawsuit against the school district, accusing it of conducting public business secretly, violating the state’s Open Meetings Act.

“Every meeting of all public bodies shall be open to the public,” with few exceptions, the law states.

“When you treat parents like adversaries, they will respond like adversaries,” Solas said. “When schools don’t listen to parents, they’ll have to listen to lawsuits. With enough lawsuits brought by parents, public schools will learn that egregious abuses of power have real consequences. This is beyond a culture war now. It’s a constitutional war. And that war will be won in the courtroom. Lawyer up, parents.”