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Minnesota School District Grants Opt-Out from Sexual Curriculum to Somali American Families

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February 13, 2024

News Release
 For Immediate Release: 2.13.24
Contact: Peyton Drew, media@firstliberty.org
Direct: 972-941-4453
Contact: Moses Bratrud, moses@mfc.org
Direct: 612-730-9070

Minnesota School District Grants Opt-Out from Sexual Curriculum to Somali American Families
Families had been previously denied opt-out requests, but after letters from law firms, school district granted requests.

St. Louis Park, MN—First Liberty Institute and True North Legal today announced that the St. Louis Park (MN) public schools are allowing several Somali American children to opt-out of sexually based materials being taught in English classes after the law firms sent two letters explaining how the district’s previous denial of opt-outs violated the First Amendment and state law. The six families are devout Muslims who immigrated from war-torn Somalia over the past two decades. All asked for notice and the ability to opt out when their elementary school students are taught LGBTQ-affirming books with discussion that promotes these identities. Not only are the elementary schools now granting opt-out requests, but St. Louis Park Middle School and High School are as well.

“We believe that we have a sacred obligation to teach the principles of our faith to our children without being undermined by the schools.  We are grateful to First Liberty for helping us and to the school for recognizing the importance of our faith,” said Fatuma Irshat, one of the mothers.

Another parent, Hodan Hassan, said, “We came to America because of its rich heritage of protecting religious liberty and the opportunity to raise our children in a place where they have access to success.  We were shocked that our children were being taught material that violates our beliefs, but we’re grateful that the school has granted our opt-out requests.”

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

“True North Legal exists to protect the religious freedom of Minnesota families,” said Renee Carlson, General Counsel of True North Legal. “We’re proud to have worked with these families and the St. Louis Park school district to ensure that their constitutional rights are protected. Ensuring the religious freedom of students and their families is paramount, and infringing upon that right is unacceptable.”

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About First Liberty Institute

First Liberty Institute is a non-profit public interest law firm and the largest legal organization in the nation dedicated exclusively to defending religious freedom for all Americans.

About True North Legal

True North Legal is a non-profit public interest law firm based in Minnesota and dedicated to protecting life, family, and religious freedom through the law. It is an initiative of Minnesota Family Institute.

To arrange an interview with First Liberty, contact Peyton Drew at media@firstliberty.org or by calling 972-941-4453.

To arrange an interview with True North Legal, contact Moses Bratrud at moses@mfc.org by calling 612-730-9070.

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