Two Montgomery County citizens are suing their local school board over its refusal to allow them into a meeting at which the board discussed blocking parents from opting their children out of lessons with explicit LGBTQ+ themes. 

In Fall 2022, the Montgomery County School Board approved and purchased 22 books with overt LGBTQ+ sexual themes for use in pre-K through 5th grade. Parents were initially offered the opportunity to opt their students out of lessons involving these books, but that option was revoked in March of this year. 

One of the books, Pride Puppy, contains a “search and find” word list at the end of the book, asking young readers to find terms including “intersex” and “drag queen” woven throughout the colorful illustrations. Another book, IntersectionAllies: We Make Room for All, is recommended for first graders and advises them on choosing their pronouns. Other texts tell the story of a mother crafting a wig for her transgender-identifying child and a child exploring a transgender identity. 

In short, these books, more propaganda vehicles than literature, are entirely centered around gender identity and sexuality in an effort to target elementary school readers. These 22 books are controversial because they celebrate behaviors that violate many families’ values and religious views and are aimed at children far too young to understand human sexuality. 

The school board held a meeting to discuss these books, and the then-retracted opt-out policy, on June 27. Rather than allow an open forum, the board allowed only its invited guests and hand-selected speakers to attend the open session part of the meeting. 

Two of the people the board shut out were Bethany Mandel, mom of school-age children, columnist, and parental rights advocate, and Matthew Foldi, reporter and former Congressional candidate in the district where Montgomery County Schools are located.  In other words, these are the exact sort of people a radical progressive school board ought to fear when it attempts to force inappropriate content on kids. 

Their lawsuit challenges the Board’s closed-door policy on the grounds that it violates Mandel’s and Foldi’s First Amendment rights and their rights under the Maryland Open Meetings Act. 

Mandel said, “As a Montgomery County taxpayer, I was horrified to see the school board decide to close their doors to hundreds of parents who were begging to have their voices heard…I’m thankful to be able to homeschool my own children and wish that these parents could get the kind of education they want for their own kids – an education we’re all paying for with our tax dollars. They deserve the right to say that to the school board. We shouldn’t have to sue MCPS to remind them of their legal obligation to hold open meetings for parents, students and taxpayers.”

Maryland law does not guarantee parents the right to opt their children out of school lessons, except for a few lessons within the sex-ed curriculum, which demonstrates that the State recognizes that school employees must defer to parents when it comes to teaching sexual topics and themes. But progressives think they have found a loophole: Just embed this content in books that are used in English Language Arts classes, not health classes. 

Parents have every right to stop government employees from teaching their children about sex and gender. Those lessons are not the purview of schools in the first place. The First Amendment enshrines every American’s right to speak freely, and the Montgomery County School Board violated that right when it targeted specific individuals for exclusion because it disagreed with what those individuals wanted to say. 

Listen to me discussing this issue on WMAL HERE.