Christian and Muslim parents sue school board forcing kids to read LGBTQ books

A group of Christian and Muslim parents in Maryland have decided to take action against the Montgomery County Board of Education by filing a lawsuit. The case has been brought about after the school prohibited parents from opting their children out of reading books which address topics including preferred pronouns, pride parades, and gender transitioning.

On March 23, an email was sent to parents informing them that they would not receive notifications about gender identity lessons occurring at the district schools, and that they had been removed from the option of choosing to read any such material. Over 70 parents attended board meetings to protest this decision, which led to a group of parents filing a lawsuit, arguing that the board violated their faith and protections under the First Amendment. One of the parents believes that they should be allowed to have a choice in what material is presented to their children based on their faith, and that the Board of Education should respect that. 

The lawsuit was filed by Becket Law on behalf of the parents who have expressed concern about new books that have been introduced during the 2022 fall semester. The books focus on subjects such as transitioning, pride parades, and the types of pronouns children can use. One of the books, entitled “Pride Puppy,” targets children aged between three and four years-old, encouraging them to find words such as “drag queen,” “underwear,” and “leather” in a word list. Additionally, another book titled “Born Ready,” pushes the notion that “a child-knows-best” when discussing “gender transitioning” and teachers are encouraged to affirm the child’s chosen identity.

A presentation designed to accompany the book suggests that people are sometimes assigned the ‘wrong’ gender at birth, and that our body parts do not determine our gender. The presentation argues that “our gender comes from inside—we might feel different than what people tell us we are. We know ourselves best.” Prior to the email on March 23, the school’s policy committed to making feasible and reasonable accommodations for religious beliefs and practices. However, parents who objected to the material and asked for accommodations were informed by school administrators that Montgomery County Public Schools would not be “supporting parents opting out of the Pride Storybooks, and teachers are not required to provide alternative assignments.”

Becket Law, which is representing the families is confident that the Montgomery County Board has violated the Constitution, Maryland law, and its own policies. “Ironically, the School Board is stating that high school students can still opt out of sex-ed classes while it is pushing more extreme ideology into kindergarten storytime,” said Eric Baxter, Vice President and Senior Counsel of Becket Law. The Montgomery County Board of Education has not commented on the case. Ultimately, these parents are hoping to safeguard religious freedom in education and to nurture young minds in a way that aligns with their values.

Written by Staff Reports

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