SALEM, OREGON – On April 1, 2010, Governor Ted Kulongoski signed a bill (HB 3686) that will repeal Oregon's 87-year-old ban on teachers wearing religious dress.

Governor Kulongoski signs bill

Photo Credit: Ravitej Khalsa

SALEM, OREGON – On April 1, 2010, Governor Ted Kulongoski signed a bill (HB 3686) that will repeal Oregon's 87-year-old ban on teachers wearing religious dress. Although the Governor did express some concern about how it will be interpreted and implemented in a signing statement, the Kulongoski wrote that  "Repealing ORS 342.650 and 342.655, which prohibited public school teachers in Oregon from wearing "religious dress" in the class room, is the right thing to do."

In his letter, Governor Kulongoski wrote that in order to address the issues that arise "at the intersection of the teacher's right to practice his or her religion and the students' right to be taught in a religiously neutral environment," the bill will not be implemented until after the 2010-2011 school year.  This will give the Bureau of Labor and Industries the opportunity to create guidelines so that there will be "clarity and predictability" in how the law will be implemented.

The bill overturns bans on teachers wearing religious dress such as headscarves, turbans, and yarmulkes.  Some groups, such as the ACLU, had supported the ban, claiming that it provided students with a religiously neutral environment while other groups, including Sikh groups, were concerned that they could not become teachers if they had to choose between the education profession and their faith.

The passage of HB 3686 provided a clean-up to last year's Oregon Workplace Religious Freedom Act, and passed with broad bipartisan support in both the House and the Senate.  It struck a reasonable compromise and is, as the governor stated, "the right thing to do."

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Watch a Video of the Signing Ceremony

Read the bill:  http://www.leg.state.or.us/10ss1/measpdf/hb3600.dir/hb3686.en.pdf

Read Governor Kulongoski's letter on HB 3686 – http://www.oregon.gov/Gov/2010_Special_Session/Correspondence/Brown_HB3686.pdf

Read more at the Northwest Religious Liberty Association

Watch a Video of the Signing Ceremony

 
 

2 Comments

  1. charanjitsinghsahota says:

    Hi all
    On behalf of Sikh Community we here in England congratulate and salute you the whole team those who kept the mission going and at the end it brought the effective result. I pray to Waheguruji that this will construct a rigid bridge between diverse community. Charanjit Singh Sahota London

 
 
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