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SALDEF Sikhs Barred from Oregon and Pennsylvania Schools

Discussion in 'Sikh Organisations' started by Admin Singh, May 6, 2009.

  1. Admin Singh

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    April 22, 2009 (Washington, DC) – Yesterday, the Sikh American Legal Defense and Education Fund (SALDEF), the oldest Sikh American civil rights and advocacy organization in the United States, met with Department of Justice officials and noted that observant Sikhs are effectively prohibited by law from working as public school teachers in Oregon and Pennsylvania.

    Quote: Oregon Statute § 342.650
    “No teacher in any public school shall wear any religious dress while engaged in the performance of duties as a teacher.”


    :star: Please tell us if you have ever sought a public school teaching job in Oregon! Send an email to legal@saldef.org or contact us by phone at (202) 393-2700 Ext 131.


    Quote: 24 Pennsylvania Statute § 11-1112
    "[N]o teacher in any public school shall wear in said school or while engaged in the performance of his duty as such teacher any dress, mark, emblem or insignia indicating the fact that such teacher is a member or adherent of any religious order, sect or denomination.”


    :star: Please tell us if you have ever sought a public school teaching job in Pennsylvania! Send an email to legal@saldef.org or contact us by phone at (202) 393-2700 Ext 131.

    These laws constitute a modern form of segregation. Apart from being un-American and potentially illegal, they effectively prohibit observant Sikh Americans from pursuing teaching careers in Oregon and Pennsylvania and reinforce bias and ignorance of the sort that underlies hate crimes, discrimination, and school bullying against Sikh Americans.
     

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  3. spnadmin

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    It is absolutely true that no one is permitted to wear religious symbols or attire of any kind in public schools in Pennsylvania. This is the first time I realized that there are only 2 states like this, Oregon and Pennsylvania -- a surprise. And yes a Sikh who observes bana therefore cannot be a school teacher. Imagine....

    I hope that this ridiculous matter is addressed effectively.
     
  4. Mai Harinder Kaur

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    OMG, it seems that Oregon and Pennsylvania have seceeded from the United States of America and joined la belle France!

    Couldn't this be overturned on Constitutional grounds? It clearly infringes upon the free expression of religion.

    This is a job for Super Sikh! Call out SALDEF! Call out The Sikh Coalition! Call out United Sikhs! This should be defeated without too much ado, I would think.

    But I may be wrong. I never believed that Our Home And Native Land (Canada) would seriously try to deport Laibar Singh - and we all know how that went. Don't we?:whisling:
     
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  5. spnadmin

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    Mai ji

    If I am not mistaken, SALDEF has already begun a campaign on this issue. Just some insight into the two states. Oregon in many ways has an amazingly liberal social culture but for the most part this open-mindedness is found in the cities and areas where people live alternative life-styles (aka Sierra Club, libertarians, and like that). But politics at the state level is dominated by evangelical Christians who are very conservative. In Oregon there is also a sizable Christian identity movement. In Pennsylvania, where I live, the cities tend to take a more open-minded view of almost anything political. However the great center of the state is dominated by conservative politics, and this cuts across all religious groups. The key is "conservative." Now unlike Canada or Britain, public schools and educational policy are governed at the state level and not at the Federal level. The US Constitution leaves to the states any power that is not specified in the federal constitution. Education is not so specified; and therefore there is wide variation from state to state on many many matters. Even when there is a federal mandate pertaining to education coming from Washington (from either the US Congress or the Executive branch) the states are given the right to apply the law or implement an initiative according to their own constitutional frameworks. So it is not a matter of Oregon and Pennsylvania seceding from the Union. They are acting according to "states' rights." And this idea of "states' rights" has been the trigger for many tests of basic freedoms historically, most famously the Supreme Court decision in Brown vs. the Board of Education, in which racial segregation was overturned. Believe it or not throughout most of our history, it was OK to have segregated schools on the basis of states' rights.
     
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  6. Mai Harinder Kaur

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    For those who don't know, the "Christian Identity Movement" is a white supremecist :inca:"religion" that has little or nothing to do with traditional Christianity. While I hesitate to criticise the beliefs of others, this is a truly abhorrent group that I keep my distance from.
     
  7. Mai Harinder Kaur

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    And, BTW, as I am a Canadian, albeit long-time resident (since 1986) of the United States, I may be forgiven if my knowledge of American Constitutional lawis a bit misinformed, I hope.:eek:
     
  8. Sa'ad

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    PA was the state where the Jehovah Witnesses prevailed in the Supreme Court against mandating that all public school children must pledge the alliance to the flag. It was in Minersville where this case began. There is also a Supreme Court ruling that no government within the boundaries of The United States shall require a license, permit, or prior notification of religious organizations to preach door to door, and yet Pottsville, Pa continually violates this Supreme Court Ruling by harassing the Jehovah Witnesses, Mormons, and Pentecostal groups by stopping these missionary groups and demanding that they register at City Hall. I know of several instances where Jehovah Witnesses, Mormons, and Pentecostals have been stopped by the police and code enforcement officers and told they could not go door to door without first notifying the police where they would be canvasing. I have heard the term towel head used several times in these small xenophobic towns which are predomenantly Roman Catholic or Main Stream Protestant.
     
  9. spnadmin

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    You have it right on both counts. And why apologize for not knowing how the constitution of the US works? I don't know how the Canadian constitution works either. Or for the matter the Indian constitution. I try but don't have the mind to understand it. :D So usually someone here can explain it to me.
     
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  10. Sa'ad

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  11. spnadmin

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    Sa'ad ji

    This is really interesting material. It fills in a gap in my understanding of religious liberties and Jehovah's Witnesses in particular. Thanks.
     
  12. JimRinX

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    I would suggest, as I did in the case of the French Identity Card Photo Issue, that you look into whether or not Catholic Nuns are forbidden to wear their 'habits'; for if they are, you may be out of luck - but if they're not, then you'll have a good place to start with your legal action.
    You are also quite right about the Christian Identity Movement - they are the ones who make up insulting phrases like 'Towel-Head'; they are the shame of my race, and they always seem to come out from under the rocks whenever we get a POTUS like Bush 2.
    I live in Oregon, and will look into the Catholic Nun/Habit thing for you.
    I will also write my State Legislators and - if I can get their attention, I'll try to get them to make an exception; as we here in Oregon (Portland, at least) DO pride ourselves on our openmindedness and acceptance.
    Just try to keep a little perspective; for while I know that Sikhs would be unlikely to hurt or mislead anyone, if we, in America, don't enforce secularism with a very strong hand - which is what this is really all about, not being disrespectful to the Sikhi - then we'll end up like all of the other states that failed because their theocrats took over the politcal process, then altered the religion to suit their own purposes. Europe was bathed in BLOOD fro 1500 years because of this - and our 'Founding Fathers' were not only aware of this fact, they were also determined to make sure it never happened here.
    I don't see how practicing Sikhism would mess that up, though; but I also know that someone would - if we let them!
     
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  13. spnadmin

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    JimRinX ji

    Whether Catholic nuns wear their habits is not a problem in either state. The issue concerns public schools not religiously affiliated schools.

    Catholic nuns wear their habits in Catholic schools. If they want to teach in a public school, then they would not be able to wear their habits or other religious symbols. I know of several cases in fact where this was the true.
     
  14. Sa'ad

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    The founding fathers idea of separation of Church and State did not intend to prevent individuals from practicing their beliefs, but rather was meant to prevent the State from enforcing beliefs on individual as in a State Religion. But, so much of the original meaning of the constitution has been twisted and erased by laws like the patriot act that the words of Ben Franklin concerning those who would give of liberty for security deserving neither and George Washington's famous farewell address where he cautioned the American People about allowing other governments to affect our policies and The American Government becoming involved in the politics of other nations.

    One alternative as was mentioned is to confirm that the wearing of religious garb is enforced universally. The other is a Sikh School that exceeds the standards of state schools. This is the route taken by several Christian denominations. I sent my youngest son to a private Christian School and he was well educated and Christianity was not forced on the students. His GPA when through the roof when all he had to concern himself was his studies and not gangs, cliches, and non-academic matters.
     
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  15. JimRinX

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    Sa'ad amd aad002 jis
    I didn't realize that Nuns can't wear there Habits in Public School - though I was hoping they were allowed to, as that would have made it easy to help your cause.
    You're also right about Private schools being better in general - especailly if you're an inner city dweller; in fact, though they were being religious hypocrites, my parents sent my siblings and I to Catholic Parochial Schools, as the Air Force Base Schools STANK - and they wanted us to be well educated.
    I guess this is just another of the many near-irresolvable issues facing us in our Modern Global World.
    What do I say to the Burmese, though? They actually want the US to Invade Burma! What would George Washington think of that?
    And how do we, the Power that put an end to two WW's, prevent the World from spinning off another Hitler - or deal with one of them, if it does and they become powerful enough to invade and then abuse their neighbors, if we don't occasionally take a militaristic stance?
    How do I answer Iraqis who were tortured by Saddam, when I tell them that I protested the second Iraq War, and they then say, "You didn't want to rescue us from that?"
    As I've said; the Karma of any situation is often a very hard kind of thing to decipher!!!
     
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  16. spnadmin

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    JimRinX ji

    There is a charter school connected to the university where I work in Pennsylvania. Charter Schools are part of the local public school district but they are operated just like private schools with admissions policies, and the like. The teachers there may not wear any religious symbols whatsoever because the charter schools like the public schools must observe the Pennsylvania School Code. An amazing problem cropped up a few months back. A little boy by the name of Jehovah was being taught by a teacher who was a Jehovah's witness. As an adherent of the Jehovah's Witness faith the teacher could not call the boy by his given name Jehovah. His mother refused to allow her son to be called by a nickname or by his last name Mr. ..... The teacher had to resign. There was a hearing etc.

    That's Pennsylvania...
     
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  17. JimRinX

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    aad002
    Ach! The things we do to one another - and all (supposedly) in the name of the All-Loving God!
    I scold Christians about this quite often; but then they've taken it upon themselves to, "prove to me that the Buddha was nothing, and that only Jesus can save."
    I saw a Bumper Sticker that said, "Oh Lord, Save Me from your followers." Yes, yes - I know; no critiquing other peoples beliefs - but this kind of stuff pains me in more ways than one!
    They say that there's only one God, that it commands them to Love - to respect; then they make war - they 'covet their neighbors goods', and in the process they 'kill' - even though God also said not to do that as well!
    Then they wonder why I left the Church!
    Ach!
    By the way; Sikhs aren't perfect either - many have made statments on SPN that are just as angry and hateful as anything I've heard coming from the mouth of El Rushbo (check out Media Matters.org, they eviscerate the American 'News' with aplomb; and that's their nickname for you-know-who!); but I believe, after having studied the History of your people and the Deeds and Words of the Gurus, that you do better than most, when it comes to doing The Right Thing!;)
     
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  18. spnadmin

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    As you said JimRinX ji

    Oh Lord, Save me from your people. The problem is we are all people!
     
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  19. Mai Harinder Kaur

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    And beyoind that, we are all God's (by whatever name) people!
     
  20. KulwantK

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    You are right. Using the guise of so-called Christianity they are actually seeking to remove any sort of Spirituality from people's lives as much as possible. That way, they can be in total control. Rather Stalinist, actually.
     
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  21. JimRinX

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    You too are Right, KulwantK ji!
    What's worse for me, is that I talked about some of my more meaningful Spiritual Experiences to the wrong people, they decided that I must have been doing something Satanic - because these experiences did not make me 'more Christain' (but - merely! - more Dhamically Correct, instead!).
    Even more insultingly yet, some of them have also stated that I must have been on some kind of an "Acid (LSD) Trip" - or that I'm Schizophrenic! - but then, I ask, who doesn't "Address God like they expect God to talk to them" when they Pray or Meditate; why is that 'Schizophrenic' just because they are too blind to see that their really is only one of them (God, that is) - even if other Cultures have portrayed the whole shebang differently.
    It is THEIR OWN ARROGANCE that betrays all of us!
    I tell them to, "Go! Look in the Mirror - what makes YOU any different from one of the quientisencial 'Taliban bad-guys' who you love to hate? I don't see any difference; because YOU 'Hate my Freedom' to not be a Christian as much as they hate your freedom to be one (according to the 'Official' Homeland Security Dept. Propaganda)!!!"
    At that point, I'm "Talking Satanic" - so they shut off their ears, etc., etc..
    Somes days it's very sad to be an American - even though we have all of these wonderful things that what we have; they're sad because, on such days, I meet someone who is looking at throwing it all away as some kind of a 'Good Idea' - which they most often want to do, simply because they don't have a clue about what I even mean when I say 'having the wonderful things that we have'.
    Somedays I'd like to para-drop them into North Korea......see just how much they really like living in THE SAME KIND of Totalitarian State that they'd enforce upon us!
    For our own Good, of course; why, how-so-ever would we get to Heave.....if they DON'T "Help Us!" (Note: I've been being very sarcastic for several lines now! Please DON'T take these things too literally!).:cool:
     

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