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South Dakotas Recognizes God in Schools

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In God We Trustby Dave Bohon, The New American

A new law has taken effect in South Dakota, mandating all public schools to prominently display America’s national motto, “In God We Trust.” The measure, which was signed into law in March by Governor Kristi Noem, is meant to inspire patriotism in South Dakota students. It requires that the motto be displayed in all school facilities in an easily readable manner, in lettering that is at least 12 inches tall and 12 inches wide.

Wade Pogany, executive director of the Associated School Boards of South Dakota, said that school districts are complying with the law in a variety of ways. “Some have plaques, other have it painted on the wall, maybe in a mural setting,” he said. He noted that in one school, “it was within their freedom wall. They added that to a patriotic theme.”

The law does not provide state funding for the displays, so each school district is required to foot the bill. For example, the school district in Rapid City, in western South Dakota, paid a total of $2,800 to stencil “In God We Trust” on the walls of its 23 public school facilities, according to the Rapid City Journal newspaper.

Pogany said that one concern of school districts was the danger of lawsuits from secular and atheist legal groups such as the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF). “One of our concerns was that this [law] would be contested,” he said. “So we had asked the legislature to put a ‘hold harmless’ clause into the bill. The state would then defend the schools and pay the cost of the defense.”

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© 2019 The New American

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