Arizona Christian University sues school district for religious discrimination

by | Mar 10, 2023 | Religion

(RNS) — For 11 years, dozens of education students at Arizona Christian University, a private school in Glendale, Arizona, have gained teaching experience thanks to a student teaching program with the local public school district.But last month the board of the Washington Elementary School District, the largest in the state, serving more than 25,000 students in 33 schools, unanimously voted to terminate its relationship with Arizona Christian. The district’s five-member board said their decision was based on the university’s “strong” anti-LGBTQ stance.
But in a lawsuit filed by the university Thursday (March 9), Arizona Christian claims that the school district was motivated by anti-religious bias, charging that the district has violated the university’s constitutional rights as well as Arizona’s Free Exercise of Religion Act. The suit names the district’s board members as defendants as well as the district.
According to the lawsuit, the district has hired at least 17 Arizona Christian education students over the 11 years the program has been in operation. The suit claims the district has never made a complaint about an Arizona Christian student or alumnus.
“What happened here is students are losing out on opportunities, and they’re frankly being punished because of their religious beliefs,” Jake Reed, a lawyer with Alliance Defending Freedom, which is representi …

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