When students return to public schools across South Dakota this fall, they should expect to see a new message on display: “In G-d We Trust.”
A new state law that took effect this month requires all public schools in the state’s 149 districts to paint, stencil or otherwise prominently display the national motto. The South Dakota lawmakers who proposed the law said the requirement was meant to inspire patriotism in the state’s public schools.
Associated School Boards of South Dakota executive director Wade Pogany said schools are complying with the law in different ways. “Some have plaques. Other have it painted on the wall, maybe in a mural setting,” Pogany said. In one school “it was within their freedom wall. They added that to a patriotic theme.”
“One of our concerns was that this would be contested. 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,” Pogany said.
“In G-d We Trust” was adopted when President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed legislation in 1956. According to the U.S. Department of Treasury website it first appeared on paper money the following year.