After facing mounting pressure, and realizing it had to uphold state law, a suburban Minneapolis school district has given parents the ability to opt their children out of LGBTQ+ curriculum across all grade levels.

Last fall, the St. Louis Park School District came under scrutiny when a group of Muslim families threatened legal action for not providing prior notification — and an opt-out clause — when LGBTQ+ curriculum was being taught to their children in the classroom.

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Initially, St. Louis Park district officials denied the opt-out requests. A school board member even took a concerned Muslim parent to task at a public meeting last October.

“I respect your religious beliefs, and, also as a queer person in a marginalized community, I would hope and expect solidarity,” board member Sarah Davis said, according to a report from Alpha News. “Muslim communities have been historically marginalized, and so have queer communities.”

But the concerned Muslim parents did not see a clear comparison and pursued legal assistance. Two law firms — First Liberty Institute and True North Legal — recently issued a joint news release, announcing the pressure they placed on the districts has prompted a reversal in past practice.

“Diversity and inclusion must extend to religious families, too,” Kayla Toney, associate counsel at First Liberty, said in a news release. “This is why the First Amendment specifically protects religious exercise.”

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Renee Carlson, general counsel of True North Legal, added, “Ensuring the religious freedom of students and their families is paramount, and infringing upon that right is unacceptable.”

While the controversy has focused on the Somali families’ objections based on their Muslim beliefs, the St. Louis Park School District’s opt-out policy reportedly will apply to families of all faiths, including Christian.

In a letter sent to district families, St. Louis Park Interim Superintendent Kate Maguire acknowledged the opt-out provision, citing compliance with state law.

“We have clarified our procedures across all schools to ensure a collaborative and consistent approach to requests for alternative curriculum and provided information to all families about the process for seeking alternative curriculum,” Maguire wrote.

In the letter, Maguire also stated a belief the opt-outs of “protected classes” are not consistent with the St. Louis Park School District’s “core value of advocacy for equity.”

“However, because we are required by state law to provide a process for parents/caregivers to review the content of instructional materials and to arrange alternative instruction, any change would need to happen with the involvement of state lawmakers,” Maguire added.