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Americans United for the Separation of Church and State Sues Arizona Charter Schools

Americans United for the Separation of Church and State (AU) has filed a lawsuit against Heritage Academy, a charter school in the Phoenix area with campuses in Queen Creek, Laveen and Mesa. According to the suit, the lawsuit is a result of the school's "violation of the First Amendment by providing religious education to its students." The suit specifically names school founder and principal Earl Taylor Jr. Mr. Taylor is accused of teaching religious and religiously based principles in the mandatory American Government class, which he instructs. There are twenty-eight principles taught in the class, which must be memorized by students, including "Without religion the government of a free people cannot be maintained," "All things were created by God, therefore upon Him all mankind are equally dependent, and to Him they are equally responsible," and "To protect man's rights, God has revealed certain principles of divine law." In addition, the Ten Commandments are presented as necessary to achieve happiness. AU filed a formal complaint in December 2013 with the Board of Charter Schools, and filed this federal lawsuit in early September of 2016. Find more information on AU's website, au.org.

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