Doe v. Heritage Academy - keeping charter schools accountable
Heritage Academy, a taxpayer-funded charter school with three campuses in Arizona, has been teaching religious curriculum, including inaccurate “Christian nation” history and creationism.
Heritage is a public charter school and, like any public school, it cannot promote religious viewpoints. Parents - not school officials - have the right to decide their children's religious education; and students at publicly funded schools have the right to an education free of proselytizing.
Heritage Academy's leaders, however, ignored Americans United’s repeated demands that they obey the Constitution. We were left with no option but to go to court. We therefore filed suit in federal court, representing a local minister and the parent of at least one Heritage Academy student.
The number of charter schools has dramatically increased in recent years and likely will continue to grow. As public schools, charter schools have a duty to parents and students: the duty to obey the Constitution. Our case - Doe v. Heritage Academy - is among a handful of lawsuits ever brought to hold public charter schools responsible to their constitutional obligations. As such, it could set important precedent.
The Arizona Republic
Excerpts from Heritage Academy textbooks: