A coalition of 23 Republican state attorneys general is has filed an amicus brief in the case of Mahmoud v. McKnight, which involves the move by Montgomery County Public Schools in Maryland in 2022 to introduce 22 LGBTQ+ inclusive texts for pre-kindergarten and elementary school classrooms.
The Montgomery County School Board announced in March that parents would not be allowed to recuse their children from classes where the LGBTQ+ inclusive books would be shared with students.
Maryland, Virginia and 22 other states on the brief have laws that require school systems to allow opt-outs for classes on sensitive material such as family life and sexual education.
How that law would apply to the books in question is at the heart of the legal dispute.
The school system in Montgomery County holds that Maryland law allows students to opt out of only the specific “Family Life and Human Sexuality Unit of Instruction,” not other instruction.
Virginia Attorney General Jason Miyares is leading the coalition fighting that interpretation in federal court.
“Parents everywhere have a fundamental right to direct the upbringing and education of their children. A School Board cannot unilaterally decide to ignore both federal and state law, replacing parents as the decision maker in their children’s lives. No parent wakes up wanting to co-parent with the government,” Miyares said.
According to the brief, “state laws are meant to protect their citizens’ First Amendment rights and parents’ rights to direct the education of their children. The School Board’s policy requires children to participate in sex education even where they or their families object on religious grounds. By refusing notice and opt outs, the School Board is infringing on the parents’ and children’s rights.”
Other states on the brief are Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah and West Virginia.