Texas schools put “In God we trust” in the classroom
A number of Texas public schools have begun displaying “In God we trust” posters in accordance with a newly implemented state law. The legislation, which Governor Greg Abbott signed into law in June 2021, required schools to prominently display any likeness of the national motto that is donated to them. The requirement extends to elementary, secondary, and higher-education schools.
Why is the law drawing national attention? Critics of the Texas law believe it might run counter to the First Amendment. In the 1962 case Engel v. Vitale, the Supreme Court previously ruled that public schools cannot compel students to partake in religious activity. However, in the 1970 case Aronow v. the United States, an appeals court found that the phrase “In God we trust” had nothing to do with an establishment of religion, since Congress made it the national motto in 1956. Also, the law doesn’t make use of any state action or funds. Because the law depends on community action, State Senator Brian Hughes said it only reflects the priorities of the communities of Texas.
Dig Deeper: Read Steve West’s report in Relations about how court battles continue over what’s allowed in the classroom.
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