Teachers in Florida are complaining after schools put up signs displaying the state motto, “In God We Trust,” and they’re forcing some administrators to get creative to stay within the law.
Schools across the state are complying with a new state law that requires schools to post the motto in a “conspicuous place,” an initiative sponsored by Democrat state Rep. Kimberly Daniels and approved by the Republican controlled legislature.
Schools in Palm Beach County initially posted district-produced signs with “In God We Trust” in bold capital letters, but school board member Karen Brill told the FloridaSun-Sentinel several teachers complained the signs were “offensive.”
“A few of them were very offended,” Brill said.
Daniels, who runs a Christian ministry, urged lawmakers to require “In God We Trust” in schools in response to the deadly February shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland. The motto, which is also the U.S. motto and printed on U.S. currency, should be a source of inspiration and hope students can look to during turbulent times, she said.
“God is positive. Our children need all that they can get to escape what’s going on in this generation, and in the world, and in our schools today,” Daniels told WKMG. “To see something that is motivating, and something that is encouraging and positive.”
Brill said she suggested the school board replace the district’s “In God We Trust” signs with the state seal, which has feature the phrase since 1868, or about 138 years before it officially became the motto in 2006. Fellow board members approved the move to appease complaining staff.
“Who can be offended by the state seal?” Brill questioned. “It’s one of those stories where employees see something that rubs them the wrong way.”
The Sun-Sentinel points out that administrators in numerous other Florida school districts – including schools in Lake, Osceola, Seminole and Orange counties – are taking the same approach, using the state seal as a way to comply with the law that’s less controversial than simply stating “In God We Trust.”
Students’ parents and guardians, meanwhile, are welcoming God back to schools.
“I think it’s a great thing personally,” grandparent Beth Pennacchia told WKMG. “I just think it’s a good thing for kids to grow up and to know In God We Trust.”
Lake County parent Crystal King agrees.
“I don’t think they should have ever taken it out,” King said. “I want my kids to believe in Christ. I’ve raised them in church.”
The new Florida law is similar to legislation approved in Tennessee and Alabama, and bills under consideration in South Carolina and Arkansas, according to the television station.