South Dakota will now require all public schools to display “In God We Trust”!

Submitted by Freedomman on Thu, 08/01/2019 - 17:10

PIERRE, South Dakota (PNN) - July 26, 2019 - When children in South Dakota return to school this fall, they'll be greeted with a new message covering the walls.

Lawmakers in the state have enacted a new law this month that will require its 149 school districts to prominently display the national motto, “In God We Trust”.

Those who support the bill did so in hopes that it would inspire patriotism.

Schools are expected to display the message where students are most likely to see the national motto, according to Senate Bill 55.

The new bill regulates some of the motto's parameters, noting that it must be at least 12-by-12 inches and approved by the school's principle.

Wade Pogany, executive director of the Associated School Boards of South Dakota, says public schools have been finding new ways of adding the motto.

“Some have plaques. Other have it painted on the wall, maybe in a mural setting,” Pogany said.

One school that already has a freedom wall added it to their patriotic theme.

While schools have already begun to comply with the new state law, some organizations have spoken out against the religious undertones of the motto.

The Freedom From Religion Foundation alerted its South Dakota members of the new law and urged them to contact legislators to oppose the rule.

The Madison, Wisconsin based group said, “Our position is that it's a terrible violation of freedom of conscience to inflict a godly message on a captive audience of schoolchildren.”

The Freedom From Religion Foundation previously challenged the same motto's inclusion on US currency.

South Dakota lawmakers anticipated a backlash.

Pogany said, “One of our concerns was that this would be contested. So we had asked the legislature to put a ‘hold harmless' clause into the bill.”

This clause allows the state to defend and pay the cost of defense for public schools under fire.

The state will not, however, pay for the cost to install the message.

Schools in the Rapid City area have finished stenciling the motto on the walls of all 23 public schools.

Spokesman Katy Urban said the total cost was $2,800.

Students at Stevens High School have suggested an alternative motto be allowed in school.

The student group Working to Initiate Societal Equality, or WISE, approached the school board with the idea that an alternative motto could include Yahweh, Buddha, Allah, science and spirits.

Urban said, “To my knowledge there's been no discussion among the board about any alternative.”