The case of a boy punished for wearing braids in school as a religious expression
Should a 5-year-old American Indian boy be allowed to wear his hair in long braids in school as an expression of his heritage and religious beliefs?
The Needville, Texas, Independent School District said the boy had violated the district’s dress code and placed him in in-school suspension. A U.S. District Court judge ruled early this year that the boy be allowed to wear his hair as an expression of his religious heritage. Some, though not all, Indian nations see long hair as an expression of their prayers and beliefs.
The school district appealed the ruling, and Friday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit will hear arguments in the case in New Orleans.
Meanwhile, in Oregon, a legislator plans to introduce a bill to repeat 1923 state law banning teachers from wearing religious garb. According to the Associated Press , the legislature passed a law last year allowing all workers except teachers to wear religious dress at work in most cases. The AP said Oregon is one of three states with such a ban.
The law was last tested in court when the Eugene School District won a 1986 Oregon Supreme Court case that upheld its firing of a Sikh teacher for wearing a turban.
Tomorrow, the American Civil Liberties Union is arguing in favor of the boy’s right to express his heritage in this way.
Do you agree with the ACLU? Should teachers be allowed to wear religious dress?
| December 3, 2009; 1:39 PM ET
Tags: religious expression in school
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