A Michigan mother who is suing her children’s school district for failing to provide curriculum for a “Ethnic and Gender Studies” class believes that schools should not hide information from parents, but rather collaborate with them to best educate students.
Carol Beth Litkouhi said she became concerned after seeing the book list for a “Ethnic and Gender Studies” class being taught in the Rochester, Michigan school district and wondered if multiple perspectives would be taught.
Litkouhi spoke with school administrators, but she claims they “evaded” her questions.
“They assured me that multiple viewpoints would be represented, but they refused to show me any of the materials, readings, or anything like that,” she said.
According to Litkouhi, the director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion eventually directed her to submit a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to the school.
Litkouhi filed the FOIA request, but she did not receive anything related to the class’s topic. Rather, the content consisted of icebreaker and get-to-know-you activities.
“There’s nothing about ethnic and gender studies,” she explained.
Litkouhi claimed that after the initial request, she was told that “no public records exist” for subsequent FOIAs.
“They appeared to be violating the Freedom of Information Act,” she said.
Litkouhi stated that she is unsure whether she is opposed to the Ethnic and Gender Studies class because she has not seen the curriculum.
“Fundamentally right now, I’m opposed to the idea that curriculum could be kept secret from parents and the community,” she said.
Litkouhi’s children do not attend “Ethnic and Gender Studies,” but instead attend elementary school in the same district. She stated that the possibility of alternative education options for her children is in the back of her mind, depending on the direction of the school district.
Litkouhi and her husband both attended Rochester public schools, and she hopes that her children will receive the same high-quality education that she did.
“I’m hoping that as we raise awareness and the community becomes more aware of what’s going on, we’ll be able to influence the direction of how things are going and hopefully build up the direction of the public schools to restore what was there,” she said. “Nothing taught in school should be kept from parents. We should collaborate… for our students’ education “She continued.
In a statement to Fox News Digital, Rochester Public Schools spokesperson Lori Grein said the district “remains cooperative in sharing information with community stakeholders within the limits of the law and district guidelines,” and that “before the lawsuit was filed, Rochester Community Schools had provided or made available the requested materials which were knowingly in its possession.”
“Digital files for responsive documents have been available on a storage drive and offered to the requesting party since February 11, 2022; however, those documents have remained unclaimed to date,” the statement continued.
“An invitation was also extended to allow the requesting party an opportunity to arrange an in-person review of any copyrighted works responsive to the FOIA request, consistent with our obligations to the copyright holders under applicable law. The requesting party has not scheduled a time to review the copyrighted materials. Rochester Community Schools remains available, as it has been since Feb. 11, 2022, to schedule and facilitate that review.”
According to the Mackinac Center Legal Foundation’s complaint, “The District’s response [to Litkouhi’s FOIA] was styled as a full grant, but a number of unidentified materials were withheld due to copyright violations. Because of this, the District refused to provide copies of the materials, instead requiring Plaintiff to inspect them in person.”