The Peoria Unified School District in Arizona is facing the potential for legal action after allegations were made against two Christian school board members for quoting Bible verses at public meetings. The individuals in question, Rebecca Hill and Heather Rooks, have been accused of imposing their religious beliefs during board meetings by using scripture.
These allegations prompted the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF), a prominent national nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting the separation of church and state, to send a letter to the district school-board president, David Sandoval. The FFRF requested that the school district take appropriate action to prevent Hill and Rooks from using their government positions to promote their religious beliefs.
According to Christopher Line, who wrote the letter on behalf of the FFRF, a concerned employee reported that Heather Rooks had been using her position on the board to impose her religious beliefs on parents and community members. The employee claimed that Rooks quotes from the Bible at every board meeting, and that other board members have started doing the same. In particular, the employee highlighted Rebecca Hill’s recitation of a Bible verse during a recent meeting, which threatened those who are not Christian, suggesting they should be drowned in the sea.
The FFRF argues that while board members have the freedom to promote their personal religious beliefs outside of their roles on the school board, they cannot use their government positions to impose those beliefs on district students, parents, and employees. They asked the board to take necessary action to ensure that Rooks and all other board members respect the constitutional rights of the Peoria Unified School District community.
Rebecca Hill expressed her disappointment after the board rejected the proposal for gender-specific restrooms for students. She stated that the district was heading down a morally dark road and advised parents to use vouchers to remove their children from the school district and enroll them in private or home schools. Hill claimed that public education was not heading in the right direction and believed that God was not blessing the district.
The controversy surrounding Hill does not end there. A petition by the Arizona Education Association is demanding her immediate resignation from the district board. The petition alleges that Hill violated the state’s open meeting law by meeting with Rooks, the governing board clerk, in a restroom and divulging privileged information. According to the petition, Hill and Rooks were overheard discussing efforts to organize actions against the district in order to advance their personal agenda related to the gender bathroom policy.
Efforts to obtain comments from Heather Rooks were not successful, and Rebecca Hill did not respond to requests for comment. The situation in the Peoria Unified School District remains tense as legal action looms over the alleged imposition of religious beliefs by these two Christian school board members.