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Religious Symbols and Clothing

The question of whether individuals should be permitted to wear religious dress and symbols on public school grounds has garnered a great deal of attention from political and educational theorists in recent years. It is a question that raises a host of thorny philosophical issues—about the rights of cultural minorities in free and diverse societies, about the plausibility of state neutrality with regard to different conceptions of the good, about the scope of parents’ rights in the educational realm, about children’s prospective interest in personal autonomy, about the civic purposes of schooling, and so on.

Whether large or small, or “conspicuous” or discreet, religious symbols and clothing can be found in a variety of settings (public and private) in liberal pluralist societies. Perhaps nowhere, however, has ...

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