Bug Eatin’ and Nudist Colony’n: Another Totally Normal Peoria Unified School Board Meeting

Image of Jesus with thumbs up saying Cool StoryJust when I think things can’t get any weirder…

This week’s Peoria (PUSD) meeting was…indescribable. But I know y’all are counting on me to describe it, so I’ll do my best.

And if you’re reading this, but you don’t have a paid subscription, help a sister out and upgrade your subscription to “paid” and support the work we do because I’m nearly positive that attending and monitoring these meetings is bad for my health.

This evening, there was a celebration of student artists in PUSD, so the meeting opened by highlighting the hard work of these students and their teachers. Once board reports were over (WITHOUT any complaints or bastardized versions of the district motto “every student, every day…” so that was a nice change), President Sandoval *wisely* encouraged all award recipients and their families that “now is a good time to leave” right before public comments. Agreed, Prez, those kids definitely didn’t need to be exposed to what came next.

Read the rest of this post on Secular AZ’s Substack. 

Faith healing has deadly consequences for children

By Adriana Clark

When it comes to being a fit parent, the bare minimum has to be making sure your child stays alive. Every state has laws that protect children from abuse and neglect, and these laws generally require parents to seek medical care for their children when they need it. However, most states also have exceptions to these laws that allow parents to rely on “faith healing” for their children without being held liable or criminally prosecuted for medical neglect. As a result, parents who believe that their church leader’s laying of the hands is enough to cure their child of pneumonia will not run into any trouble with the law when that child dies a preventable death. Continue reading

Things That Are Ponderous in DVUSD

It’s the second week of September, Secular Fam, so you know what that means! This Secular Activist Lady™ is BOOKED with school board meetings. I really wish that I could figure out how to clone myself because three of Maricopa County’s noisiest districts meet on the same Tuesday every month: Deer Valley (DVUSD), Mesa (MPS), and Scottsdale (SUSD).

I’d like to give a shout out to the Scottsdale Freedom to Learn group for recapping those meetings. If you want to stay informed about SUSD, be sure to subscribe to their newsletter.

If you’re interested in providing updates about MPS (or any school district, really), let us know and we’ll be sure to publish your summary!

Thank you to everyone who upgraded their subscriptions to our Substack last week to a PAID status. Your support helps us to be able to not only cover these meetings, but to also support our legal team so they can file complaints when they receive reports of violations of the First Amendment.

So without any further adieu, let’s get right to it!

Read the rest of the article on Secular AZ’s Substack. 

Three Stooges Skit or DVUSD Study Session: Why Pick Just One?

Black and white image of Curley of the Three Stooges

Happy September, Secular Fam! We are one month into the school year here in Arizona, and the school board meetings for this 2023-2024 school year have thus far consisted of conspiracy theories, racism, bad boardsmanship, and bigotry.

Today, I’m offering up a recap of a study session in Deer Valley (DVUSD). For those who may not be up to snuff on all things School Board, a study session is a public meeting where school boards and staff can discuss issues happening in their district to learn more about them (hence the word “study”).

During my time on a local school board, we had study sessions about school safety, strategic planning, and board member behaviors. I’m a big fan of study sessions, and always welcomed the opportunity to collaborate with fellow board members.

Click here to read the rest of this post on Secular AZ’s Substack. 



Secular Activist Lady Goes to the Peoria City Council Meeting

You know, I have friends who basically only focus on national and international politics, and sometimes when they share the latest headlines with me, they’re surprised at my ignorance of whatever said headline was.

But that’s because I’m HYPER focused on what happens in my own backyard.

I believe we all should be.

So that’s why, this week, I decided to take a detour off the beaten path of school board meeting monitoring to talk about what’s going on with the Peoria City Council. Anyone who reads this Substack knows how deeply I care about public education. I care so deeply, I subject myself to board meetings all across Arizona.

Click here to read the rest of this post on Secular AZ’s Substack. 



Fearmongering in Camp Verde

By Adriana Clark

It all started with a Pride display in June. Every month, the staff at the Camp Verde Community Library puts together a display of library books and media highlighting a particular theme. The display gathers materials from all areas of the library, including adult fiction and nonfiction, teen fiction and nonfiction, and audio-visual materials. The June theme was “Read with Pride” and featured books by and about the LGBTQ community. Continue reading

Guess I’m a Glutton for Punishment: Recapping the PUSD AND PVUSD Board Meetings

I debated whether to write about Peoria (PUSD) or Paradise Valley (PVUSD) this week since both meetings happened on the same night. It is A LOT to subject oneself to, but I’m a glutton for punishment and I DID watch both meetings… so I’ll give a brief breakdown of both.

Did I mention that this is A LOT? (If you’re interested in helping us stay on top of what’s happening at these school board meetings, you can sign up to help here).

So let’s go ahead and start with PUSD. In case y’all forgot, your presence and willingness to email the PUSD board seemed to help accelerate the resignation of PUSD Board Member and homeschooling creationist, Rebecca Hill.

So thanks to everyone who stepped up to make that happen!

Click here to continue reading this post on Secular AZ’s Substack.


It’s a Hot MAGA Mess: DVUSD Board Meeting Breakdown

Another week, another board meeting. After witnessing first-hand the absolute WORST example of school board behavior that I have EVER seen, I had to come back to Deer Valley (DVUSD) to check out this week’s meeting. Spoiler alert: It was messy AF.

And it’s not just messy during the meetings. Because of this wave of ultra MAGA deplorables joining their local school boards, they’re essentially trained to behave like children not only at meetings, but online as well. So where professional board members will meet with their superintendents and maintain professional relationships with fellow board members, staff, students, and parents, these extremists tend to paint everything as a conspiracy theory, act as perpetual victims, and talk about non-agendized items online.

Click here to read the rest of this article on Secular AZ’s Substack. 


Peoria Unified Board Members Attempt to Whitewash History

It was just the second Thursday of the month, so you know what that means! That’s right! The Peoria Unified School District (PUSD) governing board circus meeting was back in session!

Not only did I attend the PUSD board meeting, I also attended the Deer Valley Unified School District (DVUSD) board meeting on 8/8/23. PLUS, I also watched Scottsdale Unified School District (SUSD), Catalina Foothills School District (CFSD), and Paradise Valley Unified School District (PVUSD) online.

This Week’s (Disastrous) Board Meeting in Deer Valley USD

I’ve witnessed some pretty terrible governing board meetings over the last fifteen years, but this week’s Deer Valley Unified School District (DVUSD) Governing Board meeting last night was… extra. It was like watching a car crashing into a trainwreck while a nuclear bomb goes off.

It wasn’t good. 

I know I’ve been focused on Peoria meetings lately (and don’t worry, PUSD, I STILL can’t quit you), but I have been hearing so much about the fuckery taking place in DVUSD, I decided that it was time for another Roadshow edition of our Secular AZ Substack, so prepare yourselves: I’m about to blow your mind (and not in a good way).

Click here to read the rest on Secular AZ’s Substack. 

Law, God & Attacks on Women

The state of women’s rights today is pretty grim. One woman in Nebraska has gone to jail for self-aborting. Nineteen Republican attorneys general are seeking women’s medical records to ascertain if they sneaked out of state to have an abortion.

But this isn’t exactly new: Treating women badly has a long legacy.

In her book, The Burning Time, Robin Morgan outlines just one case from the Inquisition, an era in which the Catholic Church attacked women with a vengeance.

For 300 years, from the 16th into the 18th centuries, women were accused as witches and put on “trial” – a no-win situation where if you were innocent, you died and if you were guilty, you were murdered.

Click here to read this post on Secular AZ’s Substack. 


This is Not How Any of This Works

Mesa, we have a problem.

So a friend of mine reached out to me this week to ask for some help with the Mesa Public School District Governing Board meeting because they’ve been taken over by ultra-MAGA, QAnon, Christian nationalists. I wish I could say that she was exaggerating, but…

…she wasn’t.

The first thing I’d like to say is that of all the board meetings in all the districts that I’ve attended in my life, Mesa takes the cake for putting together some great videos explaining the procedures and protocol for the governing board and the call to the public. They even inform attendees that board members are volunteers, hopefully to deter people from saying stupid stuff like, “My taxes pay your salary!”

Click here to read this post on Secular AZ’s Substack