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New Florida Law: “In God We Trust” Must Be Placed in All Public Schools

Public schools in Florida must now display the motto, “In God We Trust,” per provisions of a state law passed in March and now brought to full effect with the opening of the new academic year.

Title XLVIII, Chapter 1003 of the state law has been amended to read: “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” … in a conspicuous place.”

Local media reports that the state government has in at least a few cases e-mailed signs with the motto printed on them for use by the school districts in their schools and other district buildings. Other school districts around the state report having been given signs bearing the legally required motto.

Florida’s enactment of such a statute has drawn more media attention to the act than other states who’ve passed similar laws, such as Tennessee and Arkansas.

The heightened scrutiny of the motto’s placement in school buildings in Florida is likely attributable to the global coverage of the deadly assault carried out by a gunman at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, earlier this year.

As would be expected in this day of intolerance, there are opponents of the law and its mandated mounting of the state motto (“In God We Trust” was made the official state motto in 2006).

In a statement regarding the recently enacted law, the Freedom From Religion Foundation called the Constitution as a witness for its claims: “These godly postings exclude and alienate the one-in-five students in our public schools who do not believe in god. And they’re meant to,” the foundation’s statement reads. “These laws are not about patriotism, they’re about turning believers into insiders, and nonbelievers into outsiders. There’s nothing patriotic in undermining our nation’s secular Constitution.”

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