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Lawsuit Filed Over Criticism of Curriculum Company

Lawsuit Filed Over Criticism of Curriculum Company

A case that Education Week reported this month caught my attention. Although it doesn’t involve Oklahoma, it is noteworthy because of its subject matter: a defamation lawsuit that a curriculum company filed against a parent over the parent’s criticism of the company’s content.

Schools have policies or procedures governing library materials selection and new curriculum. Within those guidelines is generally a means by which parents may protest or express concern about a school’s implementation of something the parents find objectionable. This is standard procedure for schools everywhere.

In the present instance, a parent group in Wake County, NC had been vocal for months about a new math curricula from publisher Mathematics Vision Project (MVP). The company sued one of the parents who had been most outspoken over the open source curriculum. The parent, Blain Dillard, had started a public blog centering around his issues with MVP after he became concerned about his son’s challenges in math when the school implemented MVP.

Why is this case important? Well, depending on its outcome, it could have the potential to stifle parents’ statements and observations about student curriculum. It could affect how schools look at vendors with whom they contract. One might question whether a lawsuit of this type is a good idea in the first place, given that these companies are selling to schools, where parent input is necessarily going to be a component in the overall operations plan.

Terri Thomas

Legal Services

Terri Thomas serves as Director of Legal Services for OPSRC. Ms. Thomas is an attorney practicing exclusively in the area of Oklahoma school law, with a primary focus on rural and smaller school districts. Prior to OPSRC, she served as legal counsel for the Organization of Rural Oklahoma Schools (OROS).

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