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Maryland parents sue school district over mandatory LGBTQIA+ curriculum

A lawsuit has been launched by a group of parents against Maryland’s Montgomery County Public Schools, the wealthiest and largest district in the state. The lawsuit questions whether parents can opt their children out of classroom instruction regarding family life and human sexuality. The parents argue that the school system has overstepped its bounds by mandating all students from pre-K to grade 5 undergo education related to LGBTQIA+ issues.

The legal action, carried out by the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, represents conservative Christian and Muslim parents. Montgomery County Board of Education members and Superintendent Monifa B. McKnight are named as defendants. The core of the complaint centers around the school district’s use of certain books, dubbed the ‘Pride Storybooks’, which the parents claim propagate one-sided transgender ideology and encourage gender transitioning, with no option for parental notification or opt-out.

According to the lawsuit, one such book, designed for three and four-year-olds, encourages children to identify items they might see at a pride parade, including drag kings and queens, and even LGBTQ activist and sex worker, Marsha P. Johnson. Another book targeted at fifth-graders is claimed to advocate a child-centric approach to gender transitioning, suggesting that children are their best guide in such matters, rather than parents or adults.

Clean Slate MoCo, a non-partisan Montgomery County political watchdog, noted the backlash stirred by these complaints, with an online post inciting others to doxx the families who objected to their children’s exposure to what they view as extreme LGBT indoctrination.

Eric Baxter, vice president and senior counsel at Becket, stated in a press release: “Children are entitled to guidance from their own parents, who know and love them best, regarding how they’ll be introduced to complex issues concerning gender identity, transgenderism, and human sexuality.” Baxter suggests that mandatory, ideologically-driven discussions are not the answer and that excluding parents from the process may be more detrimental to inclusivity efforts. He highlights the longstanding right of parents in Maryland to remove their children from school activities conflicting with their religious beliefs.