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ERIC Number: EJ1080994
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2015-Nov
Pages: 18
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-1477-8785
Teachers, the State and Religious Symbols: A Question of Professional Ethics
McDonough, Kevin; Maxwell, Bruce; Waddington, David
Theory and Research in Education, v13 n3 p249-266 Nov 2015
This article considers the question of whether policies that propose to forbid public officials, most notably teachers, from wearing religious clothing in the classroom can be justified by political principles of secularism--specifically, the principle of state neutrality and the principle of state autonomy from religious influence. Two prominent arguments on behalf of an affirmative answer to this question are identified and evaluated, ultimately casting doubt on the cogency of prohibitionist arguments. The claim is then advanced that secular principles are most compellingly understood in educational contexts as principles of professional ethics--that is, as grounds for teacher reflection. To support this claim, we conclude by presenting two scenarios in which teachers face difficult decisions about whether to wear or remove an otherwise obligatory religious symbol. In this discussion, the importance of balance considerations of religious conscience with the value of public trust is emphasized.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A