Religious garb in public schools: yes? or no?
Celeste Carey and Cecil Prescod host a discussion of the issue of wearing religious clothing in public schools. In Oregon teachers are prohibited from wearing religious garb in school. The law dates to 1923 when 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 religious garb in classrooms.
Oregon House Speaker Dave Hunt says the law should be overturned. Hunt plans to introduce a bill to repeal the law in the upcoming special session.
Speaking in favor of overturning the Oregon law is Kevin Finney, currently public policy director at the Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon (EMO). In recent years, Kevin Finney has served as political director with the Oregon League of Conservation Voters, California outreach coordinator with the Union of Concerned Scientists and climate change program director with the Coalition for Clean Air.
Opposing the law change is Oregon Attorney Charlie Hinkle, who has been lead counsel in many landmark decisions construing the Oregon Constitution in the areas of religious liberty, open courts, commercial speech, election law, and property rights. He is one of the most active and prominent cooperating attorneys for the American Civil Liberties Union in Oregon.