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Top 10 Stories of 2023: LGBTQ Storybook Opt-Outs

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This summer, parents spoke out to voice their demand for an opt-out option for LGBTQ+ storybooks in Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS).

In response, others showed their support for curriculum involving LGBTQ+ stories.

MCPS ended opt-outs starting this current school year in reading literacy classes and other curriculums not strictly focused on human growth and sexuality. Per MCPS, state law dictates families can only opt-out of classes specifically about human growth and sexuality. The school system chose six picture books involving LGBTQ+ for elementary school literacy classes.

Multiple rallies were held outside the school board building.

Three families sued Superintendent Dr. Monifa McKnight and school board members after, per the lawsuit, the board reversed its rule allowing families to opt out. In August, the lawsuit went to the U.S. District Court for Maryland.

And just before the start of the school year, a federal judge denied the motion to reinstate opt-outs as the lawsuit continued. It was a preliminary injunction hearing, meaning a temporary decision could be issued before it is finally decided.

Eric Baxter, vice president and senior counsel at Becket — the law firm representing families in the lawsuit — stated the court’s decision was an “assault on children’s right to be guided by their parents” regarding human sexuality.

McKnight said MCPS was “grateful and happy” with the outcome.


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