Good news on the overturning-bigoted-KKK-sanctioned-laws front. According to the Oregonian, Labor Commisioner Brad Avakian and state schools Superintendent Susan Castillo sent a letter to every legislator urging them to overturn a 1923 law that bans teachers from wearing any religious clothes in the classroom.
If legislators overturn the law, it means teachers wearing head scarves, Star of David necklaces or Christian lapel pins might start showing up in Oregon classrooms. As an atheist (or something, whatever, I don't know, not one of them) I'm dead-set against proselytizing in the classroom but I think teachers should have the same religious freedoms the rest of Americans get. And looking at the way France locks down on headscarves and religious clothing in schools makes me think that such bans only lead to discrimination and polarization.
Plus, it's not like the roots of Oregon's law were well-intentioned, according to the O:
- coming soon!
The 1923 law on teacher dress was passed when Kaspar K. Kubli, an open supporter of the Ku Klux Klan, presided as speaker of the Oregon House. It was included in the Alien Property Act of 1923, which prohibited Japanese Americans from owning property in Oregon, and was designed to prevent nuns and priests from wearing their habits or vestments in classrooms.
...and the way the law has remained in action seems equally screwed up:
The 86-year-old law has not been tested in court since the Eugene School District won a 1986 Oregon Supreme Court case that upheld its firing of a Sikh teacher for wearing a turban, or dastaar, as her faith requires.