Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Kippah-Wearers Banned from Public School Teaching

No. I'm not just making a dramatic title. It's true.

Oregon's "Workplace Religious Freedom Act" was signed 4 days ago (Senate Bill 486) as an update to and clarification of ORS 342. It is horribly mis-named.

Here's an excerpt:

SECTION 4. ORS 342.650 is amended to read:

No teacher in any public school shall wear any religious dress while engaged in the performance of duties as a teacher. A school district, education service district or public charter school does not commit an unlawful employment practice under ORS chapter 659A by reason of prohibiting a teacher from wearing religious dress while engaged in the performance of duties as a teacher.

ORS342.650 has been on the books since 1965. (That's the first sentence above; the rest is the new wording. Charming.)

And what happens if a teacher violates this law?

Sanctions against teacher violating ORS 342.650
Any teacher violating the provisions of ORS 342.650 (Wearing of religious dress prohibited) shall be suspended or dismissed from employment by the district school board. The suspension or dismissal is not subject to ORS 342.805 (Short title) to 342.937 (Reimbursement for teacher dismissal costs). The board shall report its action to the Teacher Standards and Practices Commission which may suspend or revoke the teacher’s teaching license. [Amended by 1965 c.100 §388; 1987 c.503 §3]

One more reason to get out of Oregon. I find this law reprehensible. And guess what? Pennsylvania has the same law. Hello, Pittsburgh (maybe). OY GEVALT!!!!! I have a lot more I could say, but I won't. I'll have my own private tirade for now. And then go to sleep.


Hoosbin said...

The educational perspective: Representative of the Oregon Department of Education, Jake Weigler, said that teachers could not be compared to other workers, as "they impart values and instruction to children." Apparently, however, the sanctioning of gay and lesbian lifestyle is not such a value. In response to that practice, OR Measure 8 was proposed in 2000. See what Oregon voters said at http://ballotpedia.org/wiki/index.php/Oregon_Ballot_Measure_9_%282000%2

hoosbin too said...

Sorry--the parentheses in URL converted to release codes. Please try http://ballotpedia.org/wiki/index.php/Oregon_Ballot_Measure_9_(2000)

Anonymous said...

in my husband's experience however folks had no problem with him wearing a hat over his kippah even in schools where wearing hats was against school rules. so I wonder how strictly this actually get enforced. interesting though he noted teachers wearing crosses and crucifixes were NEVER asked to hide them or cover them up.

alpidarkomama said...

Anonymous - People have been fired for this, but perhaps not in Oregon. I only know of cases in Pennsylvania off the top of my head. Whether it is enforced or not, I still believe it is an unjust law. Our founding fathers set up this country to have freedom OF religion, not for it to be purged of all religion. And who defines "religious clothing" anyway?? Aargh. This is not one of my top 10 pet peeves or anything, but it is something that concerns me.