Horne recruits Scottsdale parent to sue different district over its dual-language program

By Bridget Dowd
Published: Tuesday, March 19, 2024 - 3:50pm
Updated: Tuesday, March 19, 2024 - 4:47pm

Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Horne speaks at a meeting of a school safety task force on August 2, 2023.
Bridget Dowd/KJZZ
Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Horne speaks at a meeting of a school safety task force on Aug. 2, 2023.

The parent of a Scottsdale high school student is suing another district over its use of a dual-language program.

This comes less than two weeks after a judge dismissed a similar suit, filed by Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Horne. 

Horne has argued that “50-50” programs like those used by the Creighton Elementary School District violate Proposition 203, a voter-approved measure requiring English Language Learners to be taught in only English.

But earlier this month, a judge ruled Horne has no authority under state law to sue school districts over alleged violations of Prop. 203.

So Horne recruited Scottsdale parent Patricia Pellett to file a new lawsuit against Creighton.

Pellett’s attorney is Carmen Chenal Horne, the superintendent's one-time mistress and now wife. She told KJZZ News that Pellett’s husband immigrated from China as a child, was immersed in English and became proficient.

In an email to KJZZ News, Creighton's director of communications wrote: 

"It was brought to our attention through local media based on a press release they received from the Arizona Department of Education that a Scottsdale Unified School District parent is suing Creighton School District based on our use of a Dual Language Immersion model, which was approved by the State Board of Education as a model for English Language Development. We are working with our legal counsel on this matter. We always strive to do what is best for our kids. We will continue to support parent choice and the programs that are supported by our community and families."

According to Capitol Media Services, Pellett has been active in issues involving her home district in Scottsdale, including an unsuccessful effort in 2024 to recall school board members. Among the issues she cited was racial and sexual content in the school curriculum.

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