CV NEWS FEED // The anonymous journalist behind the popular pro-parent social media account Inside the Classroom is weighing a lawsuit against a Maryland school district that is notorious for its policies against parental rights.
In February, Inside the Classroom posted a video of a teacher at Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) on X (then known as Twitter). The teacher equated the idea of increased parental rights in education to fascism.
Just four days later, MCPS blocked the account, preventing it from responding or tagging the school district, which is the largest in the state of Maryland.
Now, the person who runs Inside the Classroom is teaming up with a conservative legal group and is asking the district to immediately unblock the account or face a lawsuit.
The block “is a clear act of viewpoint discrimination” and is “therefore a violation of Inside the Classroom’s First Amendment Rights,” wrote attorney Ian Prior of America First Legal (AFL) in a letter to MCPS Superintendent Monifa McKnight and School Board President Karla Silvestre:
MCPS’s decision to block Inside the Classroom runs afoul of its “Best Practices for Employees” webpage, which states: “[i]n alignment with recent court decisions, MCPS employees posting to social media in a professional capacity should not block users or delete comments on their own initiative.”
“Given that the MCPS X account is undoubtedly a public forum, it is thus impermissible for MCPS to discriminate on the basis of viewpoint against those who engage in the interactive nature of that public forum,” the attorney added:
[AFL] therefore demands, on behalf of Inside the Classroom, that MCPS cease and desist blocking Inside the Classroom on X and that any and all official MCPS or MCPS staff social media accounts cease and desist blocking users in violation of the First Amendment.
Inside the Classroom has nearly 39,000 followers on X, where the account has been active since April of last year.
Prior wrote in his letter that the account’s “mission is to shine a spotlight of accountability in public schools throughout the country that use taxpayer dollars to indoctrinate students on a variety of issues, including those related to ‘gender identity.’”
“We have to talk about this right-wing idea of ‘parents’ rights,’” said the MCPS teacher in the video clip posted by Inside the Classroom.
The teacher used a gesture to put the phrase “parents’ rights” in quotation marks multiple times throughout the video.
“It’s literally just fascism,” she said. “As far as I can tell, parents’ rights means allowing parents to control their kids even in ways that are harmful to their kids.”
The teacher insinuated that “some parents and caregivers unfortunately do not support their kids the way they should.”
“That’s part of why the public school system works with social services to make sure kids are being taken care of,” she said.
The censorship of Inside the Classroom is not the only controversy regarding parental rights in which MCPS is currently embroiled.
On a June episode of CatholicVote’s LOOPcast, Tom Pogasic noted that the school district’s school board
is forcing pre-K and elementary-age children to read controversial books that promote a one-sided transgender ideology, encourage “gender-transitioning,” and focus excessively on romance with no parental notification or opportunity to opt out.
On May 24, Becket [Fund for Religious Liberty] filed a federal lawsuit to protect parents’ rights to opt children out of school activities that infringe on their right to direct their children’s upbringing on sensitive religious matters.
That case is currently being appealed to the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals. In late August, a federal district court ruled against the concerned parents and left the district’s ban on opting out in place.
“This case originated out of a number of families who represent, speak for, or rather reflect the concerns of thousands of families across Montgomery County, Maryland, who are deeply concerned about” the books, Becket senior counsel William J. Haun explained:
This curriculum, what we call the “Pride storybooks,” was introduced, and it was expected that teachers would have flexibility in using the books and that also parents would have (as they have on all matters of family life and human sexuality in Maryland and then in Montgomery County under its own guidelines, all manner of classroom discussion activities or curriculum) the ability to get advance notice and also opt their children out if there is a burden on their religious formation.
That system worked. The parents were made aware that these books were going to be read. They were able to ask for opt-outs. All of our clients received opt-outs from their children’s respective elementary schools, and those opt-outs were honored. But then, on March 23, for reasons that have not been publicly explained, Montgomery County Public Schools simply withdrew the opt-outs and said that going forward, there will be no more.