Peter Greene: 3 Pennsylvania School Districts Take State To Court Over Guidelines To Help Teachers Become More Culturally Sensitive
A year ago, Pennsylvania’s Department of Education adopted guideline standards for Culturally Relevant and Sustaining Education; these became part of the teacher training guidelines. But three school districts have decided to go to court over these. And they’ve got some help.
There are three school districts signed on to the lawsuit. Penncrest School District’s board decided to join the suit in mid-April. Mars Area School District’s board was making their decision in mid-March, while Laurel School District’s board made their decision to join in early March (egged on by Superintendent Leonard Rich, who has gone on the serve as one of the public faces of the suit). This suggests that the suit originated somewhere other than with the districts.
The suit is being litigated by The Thomas More Society, a “not-for-profit, national public interest law firm dedicated to restoring respect in law for life, family, religious liberty, and election integrity.” The firm has worked cases challenging both abortion and birth control, LGBTQ rights, and virtually all pandemic mitigation strategies (not just anti-vax, but also anti-masking, anti capacity limits, and anti social distancing). They helped mount legal challenges to the results of the 2020 Presidential election; they also employed Senior Trump advisor Jenna Ellis as a special counsel. And they mounted the successful challenge to Pennsylvania’s mask mandate.
For boots on the ground, the Chicago-based firm is using the Western Pennsylvania law firm of Dillon McCandless King Coulter & Graham. Thomas W. King III of DMKC&G is listed as a special counsel on a page dated October 23, 2020, and Thomas Breth, the other DMKC&G lawyer working the case, has a special counsel page dated from August 17, 2022.
DMKC&G also provides school board solicitor services to numerous districts—including both Mars and Penncrest. King was given time at a Penncrest board meeting to make his pitch to them for joining the suit. At that meeting, King emphasized that joining the suit would involve no cost to the district at all; King explained that The Thomas More Society would be covering all expenses.
Also named as petitioners in the lawsuit are two Laurel School District teachers, nine parents in several districts, a board member from the Knoch School District, and Superintendent Rich.
What’s the concern? Local control. Teaching children what to think (though nothing in the guidelines has anything to do with curriculum or students standards.