A new state law is forcing all public schools across South Dakota to prominently display the message “In God We Trust.”
The motto must be painted, stenciled or at least displayed in an area of prominence in all public schools in the state’s 149 districts.
According to a local school spokesperson it costs almost $3,000 to stencil the motto and the law does not provide any funding for public schools to meet this new requirement.
The new law was introduced to inspire patriotism, lawmakers in South Dakota told the Associated Press.
According to the law the sign must be in a “prominent location” and no smaller than 12-by-12 inches and the style must be approved by the school’s principal, Fox News reports.
All public schools in South Dakota will be required to prominently display "In God We Trust" thanks to a new state law. The requirement is meant to inspire patriotism, lawmakers said. http://bit.ly/2Ypvea9
Included in the bill is free legal representation from the attorney general should anyone file a complaint or lawsuit against the school regarding this requirement.
According to Rapid City Area Schools district spokeswoman Katy Urban there has been a mixed response to the new law.
“We are a conservative area so [support for the bill is] probably about half and half,” she told ABC News.
“We have a lot of community members who are very supportive of it, but we’ve also had a number of people, staff members included, who are very uncomfortable with it.”
‘Terrible violation of freedom of conscience’
The Freedom From Religion Foundation, based in Madison, Wisconsin, has informed its South Dakota members and asked them to contact their legislators to express opposition to the law.
“Our position is that it’s a terrible violation of freedom of conscience to inflict a godly message on a captive audience of school children,” foundation co-president Annie Laurie Gaylor said, according to Fox News.
Associated School Boards of South Dakota executive director Wade Pogany said as long as the legislation provided legal protection the school boards association was okay with it.
Administrators at Rapid City Area Schools have already stenciled the motto on the walls of its 23 public schools, according to Fox News.
What do you think about this new state law? Feel free to leave your comments on our Facebook page and don’t forget to share this story to find out what your friends think.