Can parents sue a private school when the school expels their children merely because the parents asked questions about what is being taught and expressed concerns for their children’s health and safety? This is the question currently before the NC Court of Appeals. 

Our two children were expelled from their private school, Charlotte Latin, by a new headmaster, Chuck Baldecchi, who transformed the previously apolitical classical education school into a radicalized, woke school. My wife and I were part of a group of dozens of parents who were alarmed by the virtue-signaling messaging coming from the school and wanted to understand the changes that had been implemented. When members of our group asked questions, we were told that nothing had changed, that we were imagining things, and that we better stop asking questions! 

After being gaslighted by the administration, we approached the board to ask for an opportunity for a dialogue in hopes that they would answer our questions. The board invited our group, which we called Refocus Latin, to create a presentation to show the board what we were concerned about, and we were given an explicit promise that no retaliation would be allowed against any of us. 

We presented our detailed PowerPoint, which you can see on our family’s website, The presentation showed disturbing pictures that were displayed in the school, such as one with Jesus with his throat cut, black blood pooling down his shirt, with the words “God Is Dead” on it. There was also a picture of a pig in a police uniform with “All Cops Are Bastards” written on it. We also showed the board a graphic book with images of gay sex that was in the children’s area of the library. And there was much more. The board thanked us for the presentation, but it refused to answer our questions or engage in any dialogue. 

Shortly thereafter, our son told us during his nightly storytime that his teacher, who also happened to be the head of the faculty’s DEI group, mistreated him in the classroom, telling him he could not go to the bathroom or pull his mask down to drink water. Our son reported that his teacher also taught the class that all Republicans were white supremacists and was teaching him from a book called, “Woke, a Young Poet’s Guide to Justice.”  

In response, we did what any parent would do: We attempted to contact his school’s principal, Todd Ballaban, to discuss this situation. Ballaban refused to talk to us. Instead, he invited us to a meeting with the head of school and promised that no retaliation would occur for what we had reported. I attended the meeting alone, and, at the meeting, Baldecchi stated that our two children were immediately expelled from the only school they had ever attended, suggesting that my wife and I had done something wrong by meeting with other parents to discuss our concerns, by meeting with the Board of Trustees, and by contacting Ballaban about our son’s mistreatment in the classroom. Clearly, Baldecchi wanted to send a message to all of the parents — if anyone else asks questions, you’ll be next!

The contract with Latin authorized us to contact the school to discuss any concerns, guaranteeing no retaliation for reporting them. We filed a lawsuit to help prevent this type of thing from happening to another family. Yet a Mecklenburg County judge said that private schools can do whatever they want and dismissed most of our claims. The judge ruled as if private schools were businesses that did not have to follow the same rules as other businesses, such as refrain from deceptive practices, misrepresentations, negligent acts, defamation, and breach of contract.

We appealed to the NC Court of Appeals. A three-judge panel initially ruled against us, saying that the fact we filed a lawsuit calling this treatment by Latin another example of “cancel culture” retroactively justified the school’s expulsion of our children! The ruling ignored the fundamental principle that, upon ruling on a motion to dismiss, the court must presume that all facts alleged in the lawsuit are true and must draw all inferences in favor of the party that filed the lawsuit. Instead, the three-judge panel presumed that Latin’s assertions were true and drew all inferences in favor of Latin. However, soon after we asked the entire 15-member court to rehear the case, the NC Court of Appeals withdrew the three-judge panel’s ruling and directed the panel to try again. We are now awaiting a new ruling from the panel.

What happened to our children is part of a national trend, where schools are using the threat of expulsion, or actual expulsion, to intimidate parents into accepting anything and everything the school is doing without question. There is an organized strategy by woke, private-school membership organizations, such as the National Association of Independent Schools and its local affiliate, the Southern Association of Independent Schools, to change school contracts to expel children if parents, or even relatives and friends, ask questions the schools do not like. You can read more on this in the Wall Street Journal article, Inside the Woke Indoctrination Machine.  

These private-school organizations actually filed a brief at the NC Court of Appeals in support of Latin, absurdly claiming that our lawsuit somehow threatened the ability of private schools to set their own curriculum. 

Thousands of children in North Carolina will now be able to attend private schools, thanks to the increase in funding for opportunity scholarships. But will parents be able to ask questions about what their children are being taught in private schools, or register concerns about abusive behavior? Or will woke private schools be able to expel children if they do not like what the parents are asking? A dangerous precedent has been set that must be addressed by the courts and, if necessary, the legislature.

With the start of universal school choice in North Carolina this fall, parents must be able to hold private schools accountable for the schools’ misconduct.