The shocking Nebraska law that barred a nun from teaching [CNA]


Lincoln, Neb., Jan 18, 2017 / 04:46 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Sister Madeleine Miller’s efforts to substitute teach in a Nebraska public school ran afoul of a century-old law that left her bewildered - and prompted the state legislature to take another look at the law’s dark past.

"I was just shocked,"she told the Lincoln Journal-Star. “It was 2015. How could that possibly be legal or constitutional?”

Sr. Miller, 37, is a member of the Missionary Benedictine Sisters of Norfolk, which requires its sisters to wear their habit at almost all times in public.

She had applied to Norfolk Public Schools as a public school substitute due to a lack of openings in Catholic schools. The school district told her she couldn’t wear her habit if she was hired.

“I could have been arrested, jailed, fined or had my license taken away if I had tried to teach,” Sr. Miller told the Associated Press.

The 1919 law was backed by the Ku Klux Klan and other anti-Catholic groups. Violations are criminal misdemeanors. Teachers who violate the law face a one year suspension for the first offense, then lifetime disqualification from teaching on a second offense.

The law would also ban yarmulkes and burqas.

At one time 36 states have had similar legislation. Now, only Nebraska and Pennsylvania still bar religious garb for public school teachers. Oregon was the most recent state to repeal the law, in 2010.

Speaker of the Legislature Jim Scheer has proposed a bill to end the law, saying it violates teachers’ free speech rights and compounds Nebraska’s teacher shortages in 18 fields.

Many groups have supported the repeal of the law, including the Nebraska Catholic Conference, the Thomas More Society, the American Civil Liberties Union of Nebraska, and the Nebraska State Education Association.

Because she could not find a job in the eastern Nebraska school district, Sr. Miller moved to her order’s convent in Winnebago, Neb. to work at a Sioux City, Iowa Catholic school.

She holds a Nebraska teaching certificate, a bachelor’s degree from Nebraska’s Wayne State College, and a master’s degree from the University of Chicago.

Sr. Miller said her goal in teaching is to help students learn, and “not to make converts”

“I think everyone should have a right to work in their professional capacity regardless of their faith tradition,” she said. “You do what you’re hired to do and you go home. And everyone should have that right.”

Full article…


Nebraska is full of Catholic schools, I thought. :confused::shrug:


The law refers to public school teachers.


We are…but sisters mostly teach in the Lincoln diocese


I know. I’m wondering why she doesn’t work at a Catholic school where what she wears is no issue in the first pace.


According to the article, it was due to a lack of openings in Catholic schools.


that is interesting…I think Norfolk(her original residence) is in the Archdiocese of Omaha and I guess they don’t have any need for religious sisters to teach, even as a substitute? I wonder why she didn’t try to get a job teaching CCD…that would have been better…


:rolleyes: That’s nonsense. Or should I say, nunsense.

I can think of several Diocese’ that would offer her a substantial job if she looked around.
Teaching the faith is that important. And she should be uniquely qualified.
No wonder our schools are suffering. Sisters seeking work int he secular schools. Now I’ve heard everything.


The law has origins with the KKK and specifically targets religious. But Sister is wrong, she should work in a Catholic school? Why should a nun be descriminated against?

closed #10

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