The Palm Beach County school district in Florida decided to change the “In God We Trust” signs displayed in its schools to the state seal after complaints from teachers.
The Palm Beach Post reported that a new state law, approved by Republican Gov. Rick Scott in the spring, requires the state motto “In God We Trust” to be displayed in a “conspicuous place” in all the schools in the Sunshine State.
The Palm Beach County district complied with the law by posting boldface printouts of the motto, usually in its schools’ main offices.
— Jim Quinlan (@pax4pax) September 6, 2018
According to The Post, some teachers saw the signs as an affront to the separation of church and state.
School administrators decided the district could comply with the law by posting the state seal, which includes the phrase “In God We Trust.”
— The Palm Beach Post (@pbpost) September 5, 2018
Other Florida counties, including Orange and St. Lucie, have also decided to display the state seal.
Palm Beach County school board member Karen Brill recommended the sign change in her district after teachers told her how St. Lucie County had decided to comply.
“They felt it was inappropriate to have ‘In God We Trust’ (in) the school,” she said. “The teachers were really upset about it.”
She believed posting the seal would be seen as less overtly religious.
“I just don’t think anyone’s offended when they see a state seal,” she said.
The requirement to post the motto “In God We Trust” in all schools came in the aftermath of the Parkland high school shooting in February, which left 17 dead, and 17 others injured.
Jacksonville Democrat Rep. Kim Daniels sponsored the legislation.
“(God) is not a Republican or a Democrat. He is not black or white,” Daniels said in February, according to the Tampa Bay Times. “He is the light, and our schools need light in them like never before.”
Arguing from the floor of the Florida House of Representatives, Daniels argued the real issue in the shooting goes beyond the gun law debate and originates in the human heart.
“We cannot put God in a closet when the issues we face are bigger than us,” the lawmaker stated.
The bill passed 97-10 in the House, with the result garnering a standing ovation. It passed the Senate the following month as part of an education bill and was signed into law by the governor in early March.
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