- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 15, 2019

An Arizona art teacher was fired in September after she used her religious beliefs to discipline a student for depicting their transgender journey in a school project.

The Chandler Unified School District — a suburb of Phoenix — fired Annella Krom from Arizona College Preparatory-Erie for being “objectionable, disrespectful, and unprofessional” in her conduct, according to a district report.

The district report found that a transgender student reported Ms. Krom to administrators after she wouldn’t allow them to do a project based on the student’s transgender journey, according to The East Valley Tribune.

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“Teacher subsequently acknowledged that she rejected the topic because it conflicted with teacher’s religious beliefs,” the report states.

When the principal told her the project included nothing objectionable, Ms. Krom pushed back, telling the principal in an email she does not condone the “LGBTQ lifestyle” and wouldn’t facilitate artwork depicting it, according to The Tribune.

“Either this topic is the priority, or the word of God is,” the teacher allegedly said.

The student reportedly did the transgender-inspired project anyway, and Ms. Krom gave it a zero out of 50, telling the principal she couldn’t give any higher due to her beliefs.

“I understand that you are probably unwilling to change your topic at this point, but I cannot be forced to compromise convictions,” the teacher reportedly wrote to the student, who allegedly asked to be removed from Ms. Krom’s class.

CUSD determined Ms. Krom violated her contractual obligations, charged her for discriminating against gender or sexual orientation, and placed her on administrative leave on Sept. 11. She was given the opportunity to dispute the charges before her termination was considered but never did so.

The incident is not the only time students reportedly felt uncomfortable by Ms. Krom’s use of religion in her classroom, The Tribune reported.

Multiple students claimed Ms. Krom brought a box of donated Bibles into class and made them available for her students to take.

Arizona law prohibits conducting “any religious exercises in school” and is punishable with the revocation of a teacher’s certification.

Another student alleges the teacher gave them a Bible when they shared their pro-choice abortion beliefs and claimed Ms. Krom lowered an assignment grade with little explanation after they told her they were atheist or agnostic.

“Student reasonably believes the change in her grading was the result of discrimination by teacher,” the district’s report states.

Ms. Krom told The Tribune to speak to her attorney, but he didn’t respond to messages.

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