St. Louis Park district agrees to let Muslim families opt out of LGBT curriculum

"We believe that we have a sacred obligation to teach the principles of our faith to our children without being undermined by the schools," said one of the parents.

St. Louis Park
A school board member in St. Louis Park told Muslim parents she expects "solidarity" from them after they raised concerns over classroom materials. (St. Louis Park Public Schools/YouTube)

St. Louis Park public schools will now let parents decide whether their children should be subjected to curriculum that is LGBTQ-affirming.

This change comes after two public interest law firms, True North Legal and First Liberty Institute, sent letters to the school district saying the district’s previous denials of opt-out requests violated the First Amendment and state law.

In 2023, six Muslim families requested that St. Louis Park public schools provide notice before LGBTQ-affirming books were discussed in class. These families, who emigrated from Somalia over the last two decades, also requested the ability to opt out their children from participating in the curriculum.

According to previous press statements from the two law firms, third- and fourth-grade children who were members of the six families were exposed to LBGTQ content in October 2023. These LGBTQ-centric readings were also allegedly accompanied with the teacher’s commentary on LGBTQ identity. This situation caused “significant confusion and distress” amongst the six families.

After the intervention by True North Legal and First Liberty Institute, elementary schools and St. Louis Park High School have now begun granting opt-out requests, per a press release from the two law firms.

“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.”

Fatuma Irshat, one of the mothers involved in the matter, expressed her gratitude, saying, “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 and True North Legal for helping us and to the school for recognizing the importance of our faith.”

When the parents first brought their concerns to the school board, they were chastised for their lack of “solidarity” with the LGBTQ community.

“I respect your religious beliefs, and also as a queer person in a marginalized community, I would hope and expect solidarity,” said school board member Sarah Davis in an October 2023 meeting. “Muslim communities have been historically marginalized and so have queer communities.”

Previously, an attorney with the left-wing activist group known as “Gender Justice” questioned the legality of opt-out requests. A Gender Justice attorney, Christy Hall, alleged that parental notification and opt-out requests regarding LGBTQ-affirming curriculum could potentially violate the Minnesota Human Rights Act.


Hayley Feland

Hayley Feland previously worked as a journalist with The Minnesota Sun, The Wisconsin Daily Star, and The College Fix. She is a Minnesota native with a passion for politics and journalism.