In February, the Washington Elementary school board unanimously voted to end an 11-year student-teacher contract with Arizona Christian University
An Arizona school district settled with a Christian university on Thursday and will once again allow its student-teachers back to work that were previously banned for their religious beliefs, according to a press release.
In March, Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) filed a lawsuit on behalf of Arizona Christian University (ACU) against Washington Elementary School District (WESD) alleging that the grade school had terminated its student-teacher agreement with the higher education institution because its religious values threaten LGBTQ students. As a part of the settlement, WESD will pay ACU $25,000 and partner with the university to let its students teach at the district, according to a press release. (RELATED: ‘Gonna Blow Up’: Oklahoma Seeks To Open First-Of-Its-Kind Religious Virtual Charter School As Court Cases Loom)
“This is a complete vindication of the rights of our students to be able to participate as student-teachers in a public school district without fear of religious discrimination,” Len Munsil, ACU president, said in a press release. “We obtained everything we wanted in this new agreement, without any sacrifice or compromise to our beliefs and our university’s religious purpose. We look forward to a continued beneficial partnership that serves ACU student-teachers and the students, faculty and staff of the WESD. And we are so grateful for the team at Alliance Defending Freedom for their excellent advocacy for our religious freedoms.”
In February, the Washington Elementary school board unanimously voted to end an 11-year student-teacher contract with ACU, the press release stated. Three of the five members of the school board are a part of the LGBTQ community, who criticized partnership with ACU, calling it “unsafe” and embarrassing that the school had partnered with the university for so long.
“The board unanimously voted to discontinue its partnership with ACU whose policies do not align with our commitment to create a safe place for our LGBTQ+ students, staff and community,” the school board said in a statement following the vote. “This is not a rejection of any particular faith as we remain open to partnering with faith-based organizations that share our commitment to equity & inclusion.”
Under the partnership, more than 100 ACU students taught within the school district where they were able to receive academic credit from the institution, according to Fox 10. The partnership helped address the school district’s teacher shortage.
“At a time when a critical shortage of qualified, caring teachers exists, the Washington Elementary School District board did the right thing by prioritizing the needs of elementary school children and agreeing to partner once again with ACU’s student-teachers,” David Cortman, ADF senior counsel, said in a press release.
WESD did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.
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