Arizona School Board Nixes Christian Student Teachers

Arizona School Board Nixes Christian Student Teachers

Arizona School Board Nixes Christian Student Teachers

Last month, Washington Elementary Public School District, near Phoenix, ended their ties with Arizona Christian University by prohibiting the school’s student teachers from gaining experience in their schools. Never mind that they’ve been working with ACU for 11 years, or that the state has a severe teacher shortage.

The problem? The students are Christian, and they come from a university which actually lives its Christian worldview. And that was a bridge too far for the Washington Elementary public school board. They felt that having ACU students serve as student teachers wouldn’t be “safe” for LGBT children. Never mind that the district has partnered with the university for 11 years, and that there had been no complaints, either.

How did this all start? Let me introduce you to the cat woman (yes, she wears cat ears) who started it all.


The Queer Black Latina Who Got Arizona Christian Booted

I’m not calling her a pejorative name; Tamillia Valenzuela describes herself as a “bilingual, disabled, neurodivergent Queer Black Latina.” Add to that, anti-Christian.

Arizona school board member


She took her seat on the governing board of the Washington Elementary Public School District in December. By February she was already fired up about Christians!

During a February school board meeting, Valenzuela launched into a diatribe against Arizona Christian:

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.’

You mean like establishing hospitals, charities, food pantries, etc.? Nope, it’s because ACU supports traditional marriage and sexuality. And that makes her feel “unsafe.”

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.

Another newly elected board member, Kyle Clayton, also chimed in:

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 that belongs in schools.

So on February 23, the five-member school board nixed the new five-year contract with Arizona Christian University.


ACU and Its Supporters Strike Back

Arizona Christian University is not slinking away. The Alliance Defending Freedom has filed a lawsuit against Washington Elementary School District on ACU’s behalf.

The lawsuit reads:

[N]ot only did the School District end its agreement with Arizona Christian and its students at the February 23, 2023, board meeting, it disparaged their religious beliefs, questioning how one could ‘be committed to Jesus Christ’ and yet respect LGBTQ students and board members. 

It also added:

Arizona Christian instructs all of its students and staff to respect and abide by the policies of the school districts it cooperates with—including the School District.

Despite there being zero complaints about an Arizona Christian student teacher or alumnus, the School District decided to terminate its relationship with Arizona Christian and its students solely because of their religious status and beliefs on biblical marriage and sexuality.

Not only did the legal eagles of the ADF fire back, angry parents showed up at a school board meeting on Thursday night. Valenzuela’s supporters showed up too, many wearing her signature cat ears as a sign of solidarity, one presumes. Needless to say, things got heated.


Arizona State Official Stands with ACU

Tom Horne, the Arizona State Superintendent of Public Instruction, weighed in on the controversy. He called the schools district’s actions “religious prejudice.”

If anyone assumes that Tom Horne is an evangelical Christian, they’re wrong. He’s Jewish:

There’s nothing more outrageous than religious prejudice. Prejudice of all kinds have been responsible, in my opinion, for almost all of the evil in the history of humankind…

I’m Jewish, and there’s an old Jewish expression here. ‘He who expects respect, has to give respect.’ And this is an absolutely outrageous violation of people’s religious rights.

Never mind that the Washington Elementary Public School board members don’t understand the Constitution. Or that there is no record of any student teacher from Arizona Christian University impinging upon the rights of an LGBT student. Tamillia Valenzuela knows that these student teachers don’t make these kids “unsafe.” She and her fellow travelers want to stamp out the religious rights of people who believe differently than they do — and Christians are in their crosshairs.


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Kim is a pint-sized patriot who packs some big contradictions. She is a Baby Boomer who never became a hippie, an active Republican who first registered as a Democrat (okay, it was to help a sorority sister's father in his run for sheriff), and a devout Lutheran who practices yoga. Growing up in small-town Indiana, now living in the Kansas City metro, Kim is a conservative Midwestern gal whose heart is also in the Seattle area, where her eldest daughter, son-in-law, and grandson live. Kim is a working speech pathologist who left school system employment behind to subcontract to an agency, and has never looked back. She describes her conservatism as falling in the mold of Russell Kirk's Ten Conservative Principles. Don't know what they are? Google them!

  • Stephen C says:

    Love is the big message in the Gospels and the Letters. Who is against love? Religious rights as you say is the real reason. It just seems dopey. Or totalitarian. Depending on one’s angle.

  • Stephen C says:

    Oh, and LoL congrats posting up Frida Kahlo. Subtle.

  • Cameron says:

    Once again, their kind of bigotry is the good kind. But I am glad to see ACU punching back.

    And personally, I’m fine with these freaks feeling unsafe. Maybe it will help them back onto the path of normal and they’ll leave children alone.

    • Fred friedman says:

      I am a gay man but still believe that these teachers have a lot to offer students. Religious discrimination is against the constitutional guarantees of freedom embedded in our constitution. The left has been waging war against religious freedom for the past generation and it is time for it to end. I hope the district is sued and has to pay out a lot of money in damages for its ignorance.

  • Cameron says:

    And I love how “neurodivergent” is the cool way to say “mentally ill.”

  • Bucky says:

    Cat Woman is “neurodivergent” but the people who voted her in are just plain “stoopid”.

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