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RI teachers union OKs records release in fight with SK school department

Target 12

SOUTH KINGSTOWN, R.I. (WPRI) – Rhode Island’s largest teachers union withdrew a motion for a temporary restraining order seeking to halt the South Kingstown schools from releasing documents as part of a sweeping records request.

The lawsuit had also named resident Nicole Solas, whose public records pursuit started with questions to an elementary school principal about what her child might be taught in kindergarten. Solas has since gained national notoriety, including several appearances on Fox News.

Between April and July, Solas and her husband filed 200 and 100 requests, respectively, seeking curriculum information as well as other materials such as “past and present lesson plans that incorporate or promote the ideologies of antiracism, gender theory, transgenderism and critical race theory.”

Carly Beauvais Iafrate, a lawyer for the National Education Association Rhode Island union, cited the school department’s agreement to redact teachers’ personally identifiable information and sensitive union contract negotiation details as to why the union was withdrawing its request for an emergency injunction.

Following the hearing, NEARI executive director Bob Walsh said in a statement: “The School Department demonstrated they understand the need for individual privacy and clarified to the court that their actions would not be in conflict with our concerns. Because the South Kingstown School Department is addressing the issues we raised, there is no need for a temporary restraining order.”

Nicole Solas told Target 12 that the Goldwater Institute, a public policy conservative think tank, is representing her pro bono.

Following the hearing, the Goldwater Institute released a statement that said in part: “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.”

Beauvais Iafrate said during the hearing that there are still roughly 100,000 pages of documents that Solas has requested that have yet to be released.

Walsh told Target 12 that Beauvais Iafrate is “keeping the door open” to filing further injunction requests in the future.

Tolly Taylor (ttaylor@wpri.com) is a Target 12 investigative reporter for WPRI 12. Connect with him on Twitter and on Facebook

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