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Arizona school board settles to avoid lawsuit for rejecting Christian teachers

The Washington Elementary School District in Arizona has consented to pay $25,000 to Arizona Christian University (ACU) after severing its affiliation with the university due to religious differences. Apart from agreeing to pay the attorney’s fee to the university, the school district has also consented to restore its student-teacher partnership program with the university after being sued by the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF). The Washington Elementary School District and the Arizona Christian University had a partnership of 11 years which enabled ACU students to teach in the public schools of the district. However, the partnership ended after the school board decided to sever ties with the university because of its Biblical beliefs.

CBN News reports:

A Phoenix-area school district has agreed to pay $25,000 to Arizona Christian University (ACU) after permanently cutting ties with the university because of its religious beliefs.

Washington Elementary School District has now agreed to pay attorneys’ fees and reinstate its student-teacher partnership program with ACU after the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) filed a lawsuit in March.

As CBN News reported, Arizona Christian University and the Washington Elementary School District in the Phoenix and Glendale areas of Arizona had an 11-year partnership where ACU students could student-teach in the district’s public schools.

But the relationship ended earlier this year when the school board cut ties because of the university’s biblical 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 was in blatant violation of the U.S. Constitution, not to mention state law that protects ACU’s religious freedom,” ADF Senior Counsel and Vice President of U.S. Litigation David Cortman stated in a news release.

In February, the five-member school board voted unanimously to end its relationship with the school because it deemed the university’s student-teachers Christian faith as a threat to LGBTQ students.

Washington Elementary District School Board Member Tamillia Valenzuela, who identifies as a “bilingual, disabled, neurodivergent queer black Latina”, argued that although she supports religious freedom she takes issue with the school’s mission statement.

Read the full article here.

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