The Arizona superintendent of public instruction slammed an Arizona school board after it ended a contract with a Christian university after some board members claimed the university’s religious beliefs were concerning.
On February 23, after board members attacked the university, Washington Elementary School District terminated its contract with Arizona Christian University, which permitted the district’s student teachers to gain field experience.
“My concern is when I go to Arizona Christian University’s website, [they are] ‘committed to Jesus Christ, accomplishing his will and advancements on earth as in Heaven,'” board member Tamillia Valenzuela said. “At some point, we need to get real with ourselves and take a look at who we’re making legal contracts with and the message that is sending to our community. Because that makes me feel like I could not be safe in this school district.”
According to her bio, Valenzuela is “a bilingual, disabled, neurodivergent Queer Black Latina … who loves a good hot wing (but only with the right ranch) and things that sparkle.”
She also suggested that the university’s Christian view of sexuality was a problem.
“I want to know how bringing [teachers] from an institution that is ingrained in their values so directly brings impact to three of your board members who are a part of the LGBT community,” Valenzuela continued.
School board member Kyle Clayton joined in, charging, “Proselytizing is embedded into how they teach. And I just don’t believe that that belongs in schools.”
Arizona State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Horne, who served as Attorney General of Arizona from 2011 to 2015, fired back hard, telling Fox News that the school board’s decision was wrong.
“There’s nothing more outrageous than religious prejudice. Prejudice of all kinds has been responsible, in my opinion, for almost all of the evil in the history of humankind. And the person who raised this on the school board describes herself as a ‘neuro-divergent queer.’ And when she says that she expects you to be tolerant of her” he said.
“I’m Jewish, and there’s an old Jewish expression: ‘He who expects respect, has to give respect,’” Horne added. “And this is an absolutely outrageous violation of people’s religious rights.”
“The best teachers’ preparation program in Arizona is a Christian college; it’s called Grand Canyon,” he noted. “I served 24 years on the school board, and we always want to get as many teachers from there as we could get because they were the best at preparing teachers for the classroom.”
“There’s some bad things that have developed in our society, primarily Critical Race Theory,” he continued. “I made that my number one issue in the political campaign. Everybody who voted for me knows I was against Critical Race Theory because my volunteers and I put up 1,500 signs all around the state that had my name on it and it said ‘Stop Critical Race Theory.’”
“So we who want the normal, as the governor of [Arkansas] said; there’s a battle between the normal and the crazy,” Horne declared. “Those of us who want the normal, we’ve got to organize; we’ve got to fight back, we’ve got to elect people to statewide office and local office and school board office and we’ve got to fight back and we’ve got to bring the country back to normal.”
He also said that teachers should follow state guidelines and not push their own ideology on the students.