Students returning to school this week in Florida will see something new and affirming as they begin their day: an “In God We Trust” sign or poster displayed inside the school building.
The state statute (1003.44) requiring the new signage reads, “Each district school board shall adopt rules to require, in all of the schools of the district and in each building used by the district school board, the display of the state motto, ‘In God We Trust,’ designated under s. 15.0301, in a conspicuous place.”
“In God We Trust” has been part of Florida’s state seal since 1868 and on the state flag since 1900 — and it’s been the state motto since 2006, according to the Florida Department of State.
The measure is just one part of a sweeping 207-page education bill that was signed into law by GOP Gov. Rick Scott back in March — and both public and private schools must comply.
There are detractors, of course.
“Spending time on this is ridiculous,” Leon High School parent Beth Overholt told WTXL earlier this month, as Reason reported. “The flag is up at every single school. That’s all, we can just put it up, it’s on the flag, let’s move on.”
Many are happy that the new signage will give students a sense of security and of history.
“This motto has been part of our history. It’s been part of our nation,” Pastor Chris Walker of Lake County, Florida, who testified in Tallahassee for the measure, told the Orlando Sentinel. “The principle that we stand on, and our forefathers created, was ‘In God We Trust.'”
The measure was sponsored by state Rep. Kimberly Daniels (D-Jacksonville), who runs a Christian ministry, according to the Orlando Sentinel.
“This motto is inscribed on the halls of this great capitol and inked on our currency, and it should be displayed so that our children will be exposed and educated on this great motto, which is a part of this country’s foundation,” she said when a House committee took up her bill. “Something so great should not be hidden.”
St. Lucie’s public schools received a front office poster “to meet the expectations of this statute,” according to Kerry Padrick, the district’s chief communications officer, as Fox2now.com and CNNwires.com reported.
The Palm Beach County School District emailed two signs to all principals, telling them to print one and post it in a conspicuous place in each of their school buildings.
Thanks to legislation that passed in March, all Florida public schools must display “In God We Trust” signage in “a conspicuous place.” https://t.co/nOlU3a8nNC
— reason (@reason) August 14, 2018