Palm Beach County teachers who were offended by an “In God We Trust” sign displayed in school front offices prompted the school district on Wednesday to come up with a new way to comply with a recently approved state law.
The School Board agreed to use the state seal, which also says “In God We Trust,” in place of Palm Beach County’s homemade design, which posted the words in bold capital letters. The seal is more subtle and cannot be criticized, board members said.
“Who can be offended by the state seal?” asked board member Karen Brill, who came up with the idea.
In March, Gov. Rick Scott signed a law that says schools must post the motto in a “conspicuous place.” The measure, passed by the state Legislature, was sponsored by Rep. Kimberly Daniels, D-Jacksonville, who runs a Christian ministry.
The law requires “each district school board” to display the motto inside “all of the schools of the district and in each building used by the district school board.”
“In God We Trust” has been the state’s motto since 2006, although it’s been on the state seal since 1868 and on the state flag since 1900, according to the Florida Department of State.
Palm Beach County schools’ Deputy Superintendent Keith Oswald said schools have been given flexibility on where and how to post the motto. It’s typically been placed at the counter of the front office or near the front desk, he said.
Brill said she heard from several teachers who took umbrage at the district’s prominent placement of the motto. She said they felt it violated church-state separation, but didn’t realize it was now a state requirement.
“A few of them were very offended,” she said.
Several Florida school districts are making use of the state emblem to comply, including Lake, Osceola, Seminole and Orange counties.
Palm Beach County School Board member Erica Whitfield said the district should develop a consistent display method.
[From an article published by the South Florida Sun Sentinel]
NORM ‘n’ AL Note: Do US citizens get offended each time they must touch and use their money, which also contains the words “In God We Trust?” What are they going to do to resolve that great offense? More to the point, do you want your children to be taught (and we use that term very cautiously here) by teachers in any school who has such a low “offense tolerance” that any mention of God puts them in a tizzy? There are lots of things that we are offended by these days, but we don’t go around looking for ways to communicate our offenses to others. As we have said before, there are generally two good approaches to anyone’s being offended by something: One, find a way to change whatever caused the offense by getting involved in the lawful democratic process, or two, leave this country for somewhere else where you might possibly be a little less offended in the turmoil of your daily living. (And the sooner the better.)
As always, posted for your edification and enlightenment by
NORM ‘n’ AL, Minneapolis