A Minnesota charter school that caters to Muslim students is using taxpayer money to illegally promote religion in violation of the First Amendment, the American Civil Liberties Union of Minnesota alleged in a lawsuit filed last week.
The ACLU names Tarek ibn Ziyad Academy, or TIZA, the Minnesota Department of Education, and others in the lawsuit filed in a federal district court.
After concerns surfaced last year about TIZA, the Minnesota Department of Education launched an investigation. The school was told to take corrective actions regarding Friday prayer services and ordered to make bus rides home available right after school ends, instead of after a voluntary after-school religious program.
Deputy Commissioner of Education Chas Anderson said in a statement that the department was reviewing the lawsuit and would continue to monitor the school’s operations. He also said the department was drafting legislation to address some of the concerns.
The school said in a written statement that its officials believe the lawsuit is without merit.
A version of this article appeared in the January 28, 2009 edition of Education Week