Hundreds of interfaith parents, including Christians and Muslims, rallied outside the headquarters of the Montgomery County Public Schools in Maryland Tuesday to demand that their children be given the right to opt out of the district’s controversial LGBTQ curriculum.
MCPS, which is the wealthiest district in Maryland, announced last year efforts to include an LGBTQ-inclusive reading list as part of its English language arts curriculum.
Many parents requested a policy for their children to opt out of these books, but the school board insisted that students will be required to “engage” with these materials.
An MCPS policy stated that students and families “may not choose to opt out of engaging with any instructional materials, other than ‘Family Life and Human Sexuality Unit of Instruction’ which is specifically permitted by Maryland law. As such, teachers will not send home letters to inform families when inclusive books are read in the future.”
The policy is slated to be implemented during the 2023 to 2024 academic year.
Despite the policy, parents have been continuing to push for choice on what books and curriculum their child should be exposed to at school.
Ahead of Tuesday’s demonstrations, MCPS said it was limiting participation in a Board of Education meeting over “safety” concerns.”
Access to the meeting was limited to “scheduled speakers, invited attendees and other guests to the capacity of the room.”
Tuesday’s demonstrators included parents of the Islamic, Christian, Jewish, and Hindu faiths. One of the attendees, Bethany S. Mandel, told Fox News Digital that politics was not brought up at the rally and parents were merely wanting their kids to have a quality education.
“Parents in general at Montgomery County are starting to realize that, ‘oh, this district doesn’t care what they think. They think [the kids] belong to them,” Mandel said. “Test scores are absolutely catastrophically bad. But … the school district is spending its time and energy on ideological activities instead of just catching kids up.”
Earlier this year, Montgomery County council member and former public school teacher Kristin Mink blasted Muslim children as on the side of “White supremacists” after they spoke out against sexuality discussions and materials in classrooms during a heating school board meeting earlier this month. She later apologized for her comments.
MCPS did not respond to Fox News Digital’s inquiries about any incidents Tuesday that may have warranted these concerns.
Fox News’ Lindsay Kornick contributed to this report.