HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — The Pennsylvania State Senate unanimously approved a bill to eliminate a section from the state’s Education Code that prohibits teachers from wearing anything that is a sign of their faith or denomination.
According to the measure’s sponsors, Senators Kristin Phillips-Hill (R-York) and Judy Schwank (D-Berks), the measure will eliminate a section of the state’s Education code that keeps teachers from wearing any dress, mark, emblem, or insignia that is indicative of their faith or denomination.
Senate Bill 84 will align Pennsylvania with other states in the nation in terms of wearing anything that is a sign of faith or denomination in an educational setting, according to the senators.
“This long overdue legislation needs to reach the governor’s desk to make Pennsylvania the 50th state to eradicate this archaic law once and for all,” Phillips-Hill said. “With its broad, bipartisan support from legislators and a diverse coalition of stakeholders, this bill will uphold William Penn’s founding principles that our Commonwealth stands for religious freedom and tolerance.”
Senators Phillips-Hill and Schwank argue that the existing law violates the First Amendment.
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“It’s a First Amendment right to express your religious beliefs. Everyone, and most certainly our educators, should be free to exercise that right in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. This is not an endorsement of any one religion; it allows people of all faiths to express themselves,” Schwank said.
The measure will now advance to the House of Representatives for consideration.