This just in: the ADL is applauding the repeal of an Oregon law barring teachers from wearing religious garb in public school classrooms.
That puts Oregon in line with most other states, which do not prohibit teachers from wearing head scarves, turbans, religious-themed T-shirts – or kippot.
ADL regional director Hilary Bernstein had this to say:
"Oregon’s action is a positive step toward accommodating teachers of diverse faiths and a victory for religious freedom. We applaud Governor Kulongoski and Oregon legislators for recognizing that banning all forms of religious dress for teachers – as Oregon had done – was unnecessarily overbroad and precluded many people of faith from entering the teaching profession."
Opponents of repeal argued that allowing teachers to wear religious garb could result in the religious coercion of students, but Bernstein noted that "Oregon’s teachers are still required to comply with the constitutional requirement that they not proselytize or promote their faith to impressionable school children. However, within that limit, teachers should be permitted to undertake the personal religious act of wearing a yarmulke, turban or other religious attire."
ADL worked with Islamic, Asian and Christian groups to press for the repeal; also participating was the Orthodox Union.