The issue began in the fall of 2022, when more than 20 “inclusive” books were introduced for Montgomery County Public School District students in pre-kindergarten through eighth grade. At first, parents received notices that the books, such as “Pride Puppy,” as well as “Uncle Bobby’s Wedding,” were being added to their child’s classroom.
The school district stated in March that parents would not be notified of new books added to their children’s classroom. The new policy also stated that the parents’ requests to opt their children out of the lessons involving the LGBTQ-inclusive books not be honored.
The Montgomery County Public School District was then sued by three sets of parents in May.
The parents sought to have the opt-out policy reinstated because the new books “contradict their sincerely held religious beliefs about marriage, human sexuality, and gender.” The parents stated their children’s First Amendment right to free exercise of religion was being violated by not having the opt-out policy.
The request for a preliminary injunction was denied by the U.S. District Judge Deborah Boardman who stated that the parents do not have a “fundamental right” to disrupt public education because of their faith.
In her decision Boardman, a Biden-appointee judge, cited the alleged benefits of “inclusive” curricula. Boardman also stated that the new policy might put pressure on the parents to “discuss the topics raised by the storybooks with their children” which Boardman stated should be “anticipated, not prohibited, by the parents’ faiths.”
Though Boardman blocked the preliminary injunction, the entire case will still be heard by the court before a final decision is issued.
According to senior counsel Eric Baxter, the parents will appeal Boardman’s decision to the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals.
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