This Article examines the Iacono case and similar incidents of religion combating public school dress codes. In so doing, the discussion hopes to offer solutions not only for those students whose constitutional rights are violated by the limited nature of school policies, but to help schools prevent policy from infringing upon individual liberties. The central objectives of the discussion are to understand what happened in Iacono, where the majority of high schools fall on the issue of religious apparel in schools, what procedures exist to deal with the assertion of a religious apparel exemption from school dress codes, and what solutions may be enacted to prevent similarly problematic and unconstitutional situations in the future. This Article grapples with the question of where courts draw the line between secularism and free exercise in public schools. It ultimately adopts a proactive, non-legal strategy to address the issue. Public schools should include an express religious exemption with overt procedural guidelines in school dress codes to avoid constitutional violations of student rights, unnecessary litigation, and bad publicity.
Piercing Politics: Religious Garb and Secularism in Public Schools,
20 Asian Am. L.J. 53