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Nebraska ends ban on religious garb in public schools

March 27, 2017 GMT

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — Public school teachers in Nebraska will soon be able to wear habits, hijabs and other religious clothing in their classrooms under a new state law.

Gov. Pete Ricketts signed a measure Monday that ends the state’s 98-year-old ban. The ban was enacted under pressure from the Ku Klux Klan during a time of intense anti-Catholic sentiment. Thirty-six other states had similar bans, but all had been repealed except for those in Nebraska and Pennsylvania.

Speaker of the Legislature Jim Scheer of Norfolk introduced the measure after a nun in his district was rejected for a substitute teaching job because her faith calls on her to wear a habit.

Some lawmakers opposed the measure, saying all displays of religion are inappropriate in public school classrooms.

Schools can still establish dress codes.