Going Forward, All SD Public Schools Must Prominently Display “In God We Trust”

Public schools in South Dakota must prominently display "In God We Trust" in each of their school buildings this year.

In South Dakota, public school students will be greeted by the phrase, “In God We Trust,” when they enter their schools at the start of the new academic year.

According to NPR, Governor Kristi Noem signed off on the new law in March, and it took effect this month. Under the law, schools must display the national motto with an easily legible font and it must be at least 12-by-12 inches. Officials can paint the motto on a wall, use a plaque, or find other ways to meet the requirement.

In Rapid City schools, the effort will cost about $2,800, according to Rapid City Area Schools community relations manager Katy Urban.

"As soon as we heard that it was going to be a state law ... we started looking at different options and we chose to do stenciling as it is the most uniform and most affordable option,” she said.

Proponents of the law believe it will inspire patriotism among the state's student body. But not everyone is pleased with the development.

Anticipating lawsuits over the motto requirement, legislators included a provision in the law that places financial responsibility on the state and guarantees that the state’s attorney general will represent any school district, employee, school board, or school board member for free in the event a lawsuit.

South Dakota is one of seven states that have enacted a law regarding “In God We Trust” being placed in schools in the past couple of years. Other states include Louisiana, Arkansas, Tennessee, Florida, Alabama and Arizona.

How did the national motto come to be in the first place? NPR explains:

"In God We Trust" first appeared on U.S. coins largely because of increased religious interest during the Civil War, according to the Treasury Department. It was declared the official U.S. motto in 1956, during Dwight Eisenhower's presidency.

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