HARRISBURG – The PA Senate Education Committee approved a bill eliminating a statute dating back to the 1800s that imposes fines and penalties on educators who wear religious garb. Senate Bill 247 eliminates Section 1112 of PA’s Education Code, which prohibits teachers from wearing any dress, mark, emblem, or insignia indicating their faith or denomination. according to bill sponsor, York County Sen. Kristin Phillips-Hill. A federal court case was brought forward in 2003 after a Pennsylvania teacher was suspended from her job pursuant to Section 1112 as well as the intermediate unit’s religious affiliations policy. Her suspension was due to her refusal to comply with her supervisor’s request that she remove or conceal a small cross she regularly wore on a necklace. The court ruled in favor of the teacher, who was rehired with back pay. PA is the last state to have this provision still on the books. Senators argued it is a violation of First Amendment rights and is an archaic law. Senate Bill 247 advances to the full Senate for its consideration.

SEN. KRISTIN PHILLIPS-HILL