Washington Elementary School District No. 6 (WESD) in Glendale terminated the contract of Arizona Christian University (ACU) to provide student teachers last month, despite an ongoing teacher shortage, citing the religious tenets of the university as the reason. In response, The Alliance Defending Freedom filed a lawsuit on behalf of the ACU on March 9, demanding multiple types of damages, including punitive.
The suit alleges a violation of the Free Exercise clause of the First Amendment. It asserts that “Arizona Christian and its students do not share religious messages and beliefs within its student teacher programs with local public Schools.”
Arizona Christian University (ACU), represented by Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), filed a lawsuit against the Washington Elementary School District (WESD) Thursday, alleging the district discriminated against the school based on its religious beliefs.
“By discriminating against Arizona Christian University and denying it an opportunity to participate in the student teacher program because of its religious status and beliefs, the school district is in blatant violation of the U.S. Constitution, not to mention state law that protects ACU’s religious freedom,” said ADF Senior Counsel David Cortman, vice president of U.S. litigation. “Washington Elementary School District officials are causing irreparable harm to ACU every day they force it to choose between its religious beliefs and partnering with the area’s public schools.”
Arizona State Sen. Anthony Kern (R-Glendale) released a statement Friday calling for Tamillia Valenzuela to resign from the Washington Elementary School District (WESD) Governing Board after making anti-Christian remarks during a recent meeting.
“While we’re facing a shortage of teachers, Valenzuela is impugning the motives of teachers with certain religious beliefs. This is NOT what our country was founded on,” said Kern.
An Arizona Elementary School District cut ties with a Christian University after a “witchy AF,” “queer AF,” and allegedly “disabled” school board member wearing cat ears said the university’s “biblically-informed” values made her feel unsafe.
For the past five years, the Washington Elementary School District, which serves pre-k through eighth grade students in Phoenix and Glendale, had a contract with Arizona Christian University, which allowed their student teachers to be placed in its schools for field experience, Fox News reported. The contract provided valuable opportunities for recruitment as the nation grappled with the ongoing teacher shortage.