Democrats Push to Repeal Religious Dress Ban In Schools

February 5, 2010

Author: Melica Johnson

Source: KATU News

A decades-old law banning teachers from wearing religious clothing in public classrooms received vigorous debate Friday during a public hearing on the 1923 law.

Democrats are leading the charge to lift the ban because they say it is unconstitutional and discriminatory. In a move to make their proposed law more palatable to critics of repealing the ban, Democratic lawmakers recently added an amendment that would allow school districts to restrict religious clothing if it affects “religious neutrality in the classroom.”

But critics said that’s no consolation.

“The influence of the daily appearance of a woman who is proclaiming her faith by what she wears to that captive audience day after day after day, and the younger the child the greater the impressionability of it,” said Charles Hinkle.

Plus, he said there would be greater tension among teachers practicing different religions.