Parents, religious groups to protest Montgomery Co. schools’ use of some books

Protesting the lack of an opt-out policy for certain materials in Montgomery County, Maryland, public schools, several parental and religious rights groups say 500 people are expected to rally outside Tuesday’s school board meeting.

The rally against Montgomery County Public Schools will mainly focus on the county’s use of certain books in schools.

Coalition of Virtue, a Muslim parent’s group and one of the parties that has helped organize the rally, put out a news release that stated its reasoning for the protest:

“MCPS recently introduced a new curriculum to indoctrinate students from pre k-eighth grade on a specific and highly opinionated view of sexual morality and gender ideology. The curriculum lesson plans attempt to eliminate dissent by correcting/silencing students with differing opinions, whether based on religion or science.”

The group claims MCPS originally planned that parents would be able to opt out of such lessons but that hasn’t happened.

Three families have filed a lawsuit claiming that several books, including “Pride Puppy” and “Born Ready: The True Story of a Boy Named Penelope,” available to students in preschool through 5th grade were age inappropriate and restore parental rights to opt-out.

The lawsuit contends the school system is violating their First Amendment religious rights and a long-standing Maryland state law that allows parents to opt their students out on instructions of sex education and family life.

LGBT supporters pushed back at a school board meeting on June 6.

“To learn about LGBTQ people that they learn it the same way they would learn about colonial history, algebra or the American political system, and none of that turns them into colonialists, coefficients or politicians,” said one parent who said their child was gender-fluid.

“Reading a book about same sex parents won’t make them queer but will help them understand that the people sitting next to them,” the parent added. “Here at school, and throughout their lives, have every light every right to live without shame and fear.”

That parent wasn’t alone in saying families shouldn’t be able to opt their children out.

“Allowing families to opt out of this curriculum will perpetuate ignorance and tolerance in fear of LGBTQ voices and sends the wrong message that they are right to be afraid,” said Mollie Manier earlier this month. “Inclusivity can only be achieved when everyone is included.”

The Tuesday afternoon rally organized by the Coalition of Virtue; Religious Freedom Institute; and Family Rights for Religious Freedom begins at 2 p.m. in front of the Montgomery County Board of Education building at 850 Hungerford Drive.

The school board tweeted “because of the interest” in the meeting it will now be limited to scheduled speakers and invited attendees. No other will be allowed in the building.

(Editor’s Note: This post has been updated to clarify that the protest is regarding use of school materials and not a school curriculum.)

Luke Lukert

Since joining WTOP Luke Lukert has held just about every job in the newsroom from producer to web writer and now he works as a full-time reporter. He is an avid fan of UGA football. Go Dawgs!

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