Charter Schools and Religion
The American Civil Liberties Union of Minnesota (ACLU-MN) filed a lawsuit in January 2009 in Federal District Court against Tarek ibn Ziyad Academy (TIZA) and the Minnesota Department of Education, stating that the charter school has violated the Establishment clause of the U.S. Constitution by using taxpayer money to illegally promote religion. The Minnesota Department of Education was named as a co-defendant because it has failed to provide proper oversight by disbursing taxpayer funds despite TIZA using such public funds for religious promotion. TIZA has been shown to advance, endorse, and prefer the Muslim religion over other religions or nonsectarian approaches in connection with school activities.
TIZA isn’t the only charter school in Minnesota that has caught the eye of the ACLU-MN for possible violations of separation of state and church. Moreover, there are aspects of Minnesota law that need to be tightened to help prevent further violations of the First Amendment.
We are pleased to announce that our speaker for March will be Teresa Nelson, Legal Counsel for the ACLU-MN. She will bring us up to speed on what’s been happening for the past two years with this issue.
Nelson received a BA in History from Winona State and her JD from Hamline University School of Law. She has been with the ACLU-MN since 1996, having previously served as Legal Assistant and Assistant Legal Counsel.
Please join us!
IF YOU GO
What: Minnesota Atheists Monthly Meeting followed by Nelson’s presentation
Where: Southdale Public Library, 7001 York Avenue South
When: Sunday, March 20th
1:00-1:15 p.m. – Social Time
1:15-1:45 p.m. – Business Meeting
1:45-2:00 p.m. – Social Time
2:00-3:30 p.m. – Presentation
4:00 p.m. – Dinner at: Q. Cumbers Restaurant