A Christian university is reportedly suing an Arizona public school district for ending its years-long student-teaching partnership with the college over alleged religious discrimination.
Arizona Christian University filed a lawsuit against the Washington Elementary School District, which oversees students in the Phoenix area, Thursday after the school board terminated the contract that allowed ACU students to teach within the district’s schools, 12 News reported.
The school board unanimously voted on Feb. 23 to end the contract — sparking backlash from a group of people who showed up to the board’s meeting Thursday to condemn the board’s decision.
Dozens of speakers at the packed board meeting argued that the board members acted discriminatory towards Christians in their decision to terminate the contract.
“This recent contract dismissal of student teachers affiliated with ACU based on assumption is totally biased,” Aaron Cericola said during the public comments period. “It’s wrong and completely discriminatory towards Christians in general.”
But supporters of the board’s decision argued that the values of ACU discriminates against LGBTQ students and teachers.
“I stand in full solidarity with Tamillia Valenzuela and the WASD board,” Hector Jaramillo said. “Cutting ties with ACU had nothing to do with religion. It had everything to do with an institution that views the LGBTQ+ community as bestiality and incest — it’s on the website and they group it within the same parenthesis.”
During the February meeting, board member Tamillia Valenzuela said the university’s religious beliefs, including its anti-LGBTQ statements, should not be introduced into the district’s public schools.
“Part of their values is… [to] ‘transform the culture with truth by promoting the Biblically-informed values that are foundational to Western civilization, including the centrality of family, traditional sexual morality, and lifelong marriage between one man and one woman,’” Valenzuela said.
“I want to know how bringing [teachers] from an institution that is ingrained in their values so directly brings impact to three of your board members who are a part of the LGBT community.”
She added that she “fully wholeheartedly believes in religious freedom,” but has concerns over the institution itself.
ACU has asked a judge to reinstate its contract with the school district for the 2023-2024 school year.
“Despite there being zero complaints about an Arizona Christian student teacher or alumnus, the School District decided to terminate its relationship with Arizona Christian and its students solely because of their religious status and beliefs on biblical marriage and sexuality,” the lawsuit states.
Student teachers from the university are instructed to follow the procedures and rules of their assigned districts and schools, according to the suit.
By: Ny Post