Pennsylvania Senators Aiming To Repeal Law Banning Teachers From Wearing Religious Emblems In The Classroom

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Pennsylvania state lawmakers are in the process of repealing a law that bans teachers from wearing religious emblems in the classroom.

The current bill aims to repeal Section 1112 of the Public School Code of 1949 stating that no teacher is allowed to wear a “dress, mark, emblem or insignia” that would indicate a specific religion when teaching students, and any teacher who is found to have violated the law is subjected to suspension for an entire year. State senators in the Senate Education Committee (SEC) voted Tuesday to move the “Protecting the First Amendment Right to Freedom of Religious Expression” bill forward to the state Senate to be voted on in the General Assembly, according to The Morning Call.

The new bill, proposed by Republican Sen. Kristin Philips-Hill and Democratic Sen. Judith L. Schwank, stalled twice in years past, but this time is supported by the Pennsylvania State Education Association which was originally in favor of the current ban, according to The Morning Call. The bipartisan bill details a 2003 case, Nichol v. Arin Intermediate Unit 28, where a teacher was suspended because she wore a cross necklace to school but was eventually reinstated after the United States District Court W.D. Pennsylvania ruled Arin Intermediate Unit 28’s policy violated the Constitution.

The bipartisan bill details a 2003 case, Nichol v. Arin Intermediate Unit 28, where the United States District Court W.D. Pennsylvania ruled that a policy by Arin Intermediate Unit 28 violated the Constitution.

In the 2019-2020 session, the bill failed to make it out of the SEC and in the 2020-2021 session, the bill made it through the Senate and the House Education Committee but did not pass the General Assembly. Phillips-Hill pointed out that a teacher has the same rights to religious expression given to the rest of Americans.

“A teacher should not be worried about his or her job for simply wearing a cross on a necklace,” Phillips-Hill told The Morning Call. “Our First Amendment rights? They do not end simply because an educator walked into a school or classroom.”

Schwank and Philips-Hill did not respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.

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All content created by the Daily Caller News Foundation, an independent and nonpartisan newswire service, is available without charge to any legitimate news publisher that can provide a large audience. All republished articles must include our logo, our reporter’s byline and their DCNF affiliation. For any questions about our guidelines or partnering with us, please contact licensing@dailycallernewsfoundation.org.

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