The Washington Elementary School District in Arizona has terminated its contract with Arizona Christian University over the university’s religious and Biblical beliefs, citing concerns over creating “safe spaces” for LGBTQ students. The district serves students in the Phoenix and Glendale areas.
The contract, which had been in place for five years, allowed Arizona Christian University student teachers to gain field experience in the district’s schools, opening up recruitment and hiring opportunities for the university.
NEW—Arizona school board member Tamillia Valenzuela, while wearing cat ears, says her district should reject hiring teachers with Christian values.
Valenzuela describes herself as "a bilingual, disabled, neurodivergent Queer Black Latina" pic.twitter.com/xo307B2snI
— Charlie Kirk (@charliekirk11) March 3, 2023
During a school board meeting on February 23, member Tamillia Valenzuela, who was wearing cat ears, expressed her opposition to the university’s Christian values, saying that she was “disheartened” to learn about the ongoing contract.
Valenzuela, who identifies as a “bilingual, disabled, neurodivergent Queer Black Latina,” expressed concerns over the university’s mission to “transform the culture with truth by promoting the Biblically-informed values that are foundational to Western civilization, including the centrality of family, traditional sexual morality, and lifelong marriage between one man and one woman.”
Valenzuela and other board members expressed concerns over the impact of the university’s religious beliefs on the district’s LGBTQ community, stating that they would not knowingly enter into partnerships with organizations that explicitly discriminate against protected classes covered by their nondiscrimination policies.
Kyle Clayton was among the other board members who dismissed the university’s civil rights without so much as a nod toward critical thought. He said: “I, too, echo what Ms. Valenzuela said when I looked into not only their core values, but the statement of faith which they ask their students to sign and live by.”
“Proselytizing is embedded into how they teach. And I just don’t believe that belongs in schools,” Clayton added.
Following the meeting, the board agreed on a motion to dissolve the partnership with Arizona Christian University, citing their commitment to creating safe spaces for LGBTQ+ students, staff, and their “community.”
Critics of the decision argue that it amounts to discrimination against Christians and that the decision violates the religious freedom of the university and its students. However, the school board maintains that the decision was based on their commitment to providing a safe and inclusive environment for all students, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity.
Civil libertarians and advocates for greater parental involvement in education argue the decision sets a dangerous precedent for government interference in religious beliefs and practices. Blatant and unconstitutional discrimination against Christians is becoming acceptable, even among some so-called conservatives, because the Christian religion is not considered worthy of protection compared to whatever progressive nightmare currently attracts the most attention from academics.