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.”
As a result of terminating the contract, 66 teachers have resigned or will not be returning next year in protest. The contract was in place for 11 years, with 25 students participating and at least 17 hired on as full-time teachers after graduating. None of the student-teachers ever received a complaint, the lawsuit says.
In addition to making remarks about ACU’s religious tenets, some school board members cited its Statement of Faith. The complaint noted that ACU requires students to sign its Statement of Faith, which represents “Arizona Christian’s sincerely held beliefs about biblical marriage and sexuality, including the beliefs that God created man and woman in His image and likeness, that God wonderfully and immutably creates each person as male or female, and that God intends sexual intimacy to occur only between a man and woman who are married to each other.”
Read the rest of the article at The Arizona Sun Times