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Pennsylvania teachers can’t wear ‘religious garb’ to class but a repeal effort may be possible

by Mark A. Kellner | Desert News  |  published on December 12, 2014


A 65-year-old Pennsylvania law barring teachers from wearing “religious garb” in class, though rarely enforced, has resurfaced, much to the irritation of school officials and religious liberty advocates.

That law — passed originally in 1895 at the height of anti-Catholic hysteria and renewed in 1949 — allowed a man to recently register a complaint over a teacher at the East Pennsboro Middle School who reportedly wore a necklace showing a Star of David, a traditional Jewish emblem.

“I object to any teacher that’s breaking the 1949 Religious Garb act,” Ernest Perce, who claims to be an “Orthodox Christian” but two years ago was Pennsylvania director for the American Atheists, told the Deseret News in a telephone interview. “I would object to any teacher breaking the law, so that’s all faiths or non-faiths included.”

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