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Church State Issues

School in Mesa may face lawsuit over textbooks

Jul 25, 2014

East Valley Tribune

Remember, the world is only 5,000 years old!!!! Well at least that's how these folks in Mesa, Arizona feel


Posted: Thursday, July 24, 2014 6:30 am

By Trevor Godfrey, Tribune

Friday marks the deadline that an activist group has asked the Arizona State Board for Charter Schools to revoke the charter of a local charter school if it does not agree to stop its usage of two controversial textbooks.

Heritage Academy in Mesa is under fire from a Washington, D.C.-based group for the use of two history and government textbooks, “The 5,000 Year Leap” and “The Making of America." Americans United for Separation of Church and State claims the books have content that teaches religion, which it said is not allowed at public schools at the federal and state levels, and is considering whether to file a lawsuit.

“We received a complaint from a member of the school community about ‘The 5,000 Year Leap’ being a part of the curriculum in the senior history class, so we carefully investigated this matter,” said Alex Luchenitser, associate legal director for Americans United.

He added that, based on other reporting of the issue, it does not appear the board is going to take action on this request, and litigation may be the group’s next option.

"We’re seriously considering that (litigation)," Luchenitser said. "We haven’t made a final decision. If we do take this to litigation, I think we have a very good chance of winning.”

The organization sent a letter to the Arizona State Board for Charter Schools asking the school revoke Heritage's charter. The state board has not commented on the issue as of July 24.

Heritage Academy Principal Earl Taylor Jr. said, “We’re working to try to comply with their records request, and I’m not going to spend any more time with this.”

Contact writer: (480) 898-6581 or tgodfrey@evtrib.com. Follow him on Twitter at @trevoregodfrey.