Tuesday, March 21, 2023
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Cat-Eared, ‘Queer Black Latina’ School Board Member Kills Contract w/ Christian Univ. for Its Beliefs

'To turn people away based on deeply personally held beliefs is just wrong... '

(Mark Pellin, Headline USA) An Arizona school board member wearing cat ears who self-identifies as a “neurodivergent Queer Black Latina,” lectured Christians about their dangerous religious beliefs and declared that they had no place in classrooms.

The Washington Elementary School District governing board agreed, and last month dissolved an existing contract with Arizona Christian University that had placed student-teachers in the district’s schools, AZFamily reported.

Backlash from parents was swift and a state senator is demanding the resignation of at least one of the school board members.

The partnership with the university had helped student-teachers gain valuable classroom experience, and for years benefited a school system dealing with a severe shortage of teachers, according to both the school system and the university.

“Administrators have time and again asked us to send more ACU students because of the quality of our students’ work and their love and servant’s hearts for all,” Arizona Christian University said in a statement. “The school board’s recent decision to ban ACU students from serving as student teachers was done for one reason only: our University’s commitment to our Christian convictions.”

The Arizona school board’s concern about the possibility of those Christian beliefs being spread in their schools took precedent, and the contract was killed.

School board member Tamillia Valenzuela, the self-proclaimed “dope ass human, neurodivergent Queer Black Latina,” said she “full-heartedly” believed in religious freedom and “people being able to practice whatever faith that they have,” but she had “some… concerns regarding looking at this particular institution.”

Valenzuela was alarmed by the university’s website that stated “‘above all else, be committed to Jesus Christ, accomplishing His will and advancing His kingdom on earth as in heaven.’”

She was also troubled by the university’s values to “influence, engage and 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.”

Partnering with the university “will very directly impact three of your board members who are a part of the LGBTQ community,” Valenzuela warned, reminding the board that they had “added our pronouns at the dais as solidarity” to make sure the LGBT community knew “we stand in making sure that they feel protected.”

“Are we only performing performative solidarity? Or are we going to dig deep, and actually look at the partnerships that we’re doing?” she asked. “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 that is sending to our community.”

Arizona state Sen. Anthony Kern said that the school district’s killing the contract because of the university’s religious beliefs crossed several lines. Kern, a Republican, called for Valenzuela’s immediate resignation over her “discriminatory remarks.” If it wasn’t delivered, Kern said he would demand the school district’s governing board to oust her.

“While we’re facing a shortage of teachers, Valenzuela is impugning the motives of teachers with certain religious beliefs. This is NOT what our country was founded on,” Kern said in a statement. “This is absolute discrimination, and somebody like this should not be making decisions for Arizona and Arizona families.”

Some of those families agreed and criticized the school board’s decision.

“Teachers are stretched so thin right now, doing the best they can,” parent Kalyn Foggy told AZFamily. “To turn people away based on deeply personally held beliefs is just wrong.”

Arizona Christian University officials said they are “exploring our options to defend the rights of our students,” adding that the school board’s decision to end the contract was “wrong, it’s unlawful, and it will only hurt the district’s students.”

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