Diversity, inclusion extend to religious families, too

Diversity, inclusion extend to religious families, too

Diversity, inclusion extend to religious families, too

Several children of immigrant families in Minnesota are getting to opt-out of the sexual curriculum being taught in their English classes.

The school district has agreed in writing to grant opt-outs to all six of First Liberty Institute's client families, and attorney Kayla Toney credits the parents for their courageous willingness to fight for their kids and their rights.

The six families are devout Muslims who immigrated from Somalia over the past two decades. All asked for notice and the ability to opt out when LGBTQ-affirming books were to be presented to their elementary-aged students. They also did not want their children subjected to the related discussions that promote those identities.

First Liberty and True North Legal sent the St. Louis Park Public School District demand letters on November 2 and December 7, 2023 explaining the concerns about religious freedom.

"Our clients had initially requested opt-outs back in October, and they were denied," Toney reports.

Toney, Kayla (First Liberty) Toney

First Liberty informed the school that it was required by Minnesota state law, as well as the First Amendment, that "parents have a way of knowing what their children are learning in class and also have a way of requesting an opt-out of religious exemption if what the children are learning goes against the parents' sincerely held religious beliefs."

"It took two demand letters, but that was enough to convince the school that they needed to follow the law," says Toney. "We're very encouraged that they decided to do the right thing here, and at this point, it looks like we won't need to go to court."

Not only are the elementary schools now granting opt-out requests, but St. Louis Park Middle School and High School are as well.

"This is a win for religious freedom for everyone," says Toney.