Public Record Requests are “Hate Speech” says Maine Right-to-Know Committee Member

Victoria Wallack, who was appointed to the "Right to Know" advisory committee by Gov. Janet Mills, urged the committee to come up with a way to limit citizens' right to know about school affairs on matters that relate to gay, lesbian, and transgender children, as well as Critical Race theory.

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Andrew Charleson, left, and Irene Song read assignments on Google Chromebooks during an advanced 6th-grade reading class at Ridgeview Middle School in Gaithersburg, Md., on Nov. 6. Apple products are being replaced as the inexpensive, cloud-based Chromebook makes inroads in to K-12 schools. In Montgomery County, Md. roughly 40,000 Chromebooks are being deployed to students. --T.J. Kirkpatrick for Education Week

A member of the Maine’s “Right to Know” advisory committee, which advises the legislature on Freedom of Access Act and government transparency issues, said Thursday some requests for public records are actually acts of “hate speech.”

Vicki Wallack, an official from the Maine School Management Association (MSMA) and a member of the committee, said public record requests directed at her and her organization were not requests for information, but were instead bigoted attacks on marginalized communities.

“Our great concern with the Freedom of Access request our districts have been receiving is that they target gay, lesbian and transgender students,” she said.

She said that she had been targeted with “burdensome” public record requests that were designed, she said, to undermine her personal support for gay, lesbian, and transgender children.

“If these types of targeted FOIA (sic) requests are allowed to go forward — and make no mistake, these requests are intended to discourage public support for all students regardless of their gender identity — it will be despicable misuse of the FOIA (sic) law,” she said.

Wallack did not offer any explanation as to how she had intuited the motives of the people submitting FOA requests.

“Personally, I believe these requests are just another form of hate speech,” she said.

Her comments followed Shawn McBreairty’s testimony to the committee about the exorbitant costs and lengthy delays he has faced when requesting documents from Maine’s government-run schools and related advocacy organizations, including MSMA.

McBreairty is an activist concerned with the nature of content being taught in Maine schools. The central thrust of McBreairty’s requests, including those submitted to Wallack and other MSMA employees, has been uncovering the extent to which radical left-wing ideas about race and gender are being taught in Maine’s schools.

It was clear that Wallack was directing her comments about hate speech toward McBreairty.

According to Wallack, citizens or journalists who submit public record requests seeking information about the role Critical Race Theory and radical gender ideology play in Maine’s schools are actually targeting minority, gay, lesbian, and transgender students.

It’s not immediately clear how asking for public records, including school administrator emails, is hateful speech or speech that harms children, and Wallack wasn’t forthcoming with an explanation.

Wallack, who was appointed to the “Right to Know” advisory committee by Gov. Janet Mills, urged the committee to come up with a way to limit citizens’ right to know about school affairs on matters that relate to gay, lesbian, and transgender children, as well as Critical Race theory.

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