By Rebekah Riess, CNN
Texas school districts have begun receiving donated posters and framed copies of the national motto, “In God We Trust,” that they will now be required to display in accordance with a new state law.
The law says a public elementary or secondary school or an institution of higher education “must” display a durable poster or framed copy of the motto in a “conspicuous place” in each building if the poster or framed copy is “donated for display at the school or institution” or “purchased from private donations and made available to the school or institution.”
State Sen. Bryan Hughes, a Republican co-author of the law, tweeted last week, “The national motto, In God We Trust, asserts our collective trust in a sovereign God.”
The people and organizations behind the donations have wasted no time in sending them out to schools.
The Carroll Independent School District in Southlake, a suburb of Dallas, on Monday received “In God We Trust” framed posters for each school in the district from Patriot Mobile, which describes itself as “America’s only Christian conservative wireless provider.”
Scott Coburn, the company’s chief marketing officer, told the school board, “Patriot Mobile is honored to donate these posters to CISD and we’re very excited to see them amongst all of our schools.”
The posters will be displayed in the front entrance areas of each Carroll ISD campus, Brandie Egan, the district’s communications coordinator, told CNN.
Some in the community object, including the Southlake Anti-Racism Coalition (SARC).
“SARC is disturbed by the precedent displaying these posters in every school will set and the chilling effect this blatant intrusion of religion in what should be a secular public institution will have on the student body, especially those who do not practice the dominant Christian faith,” the community group said in a statement following the donation.
Hughes said he is encouraged to see groups like Patriot Mobile “coming forward to donate these framed prints to remind future generations of Texans of our national motto.”
CNN has requested a comment from Hughes about SARC’s criticism but has yet to hear back.
Other school districts throughout the state have also received poster donations, including Cypress-Fairbanks Independent School District in Houston. “As part of the National Motto program, The Yellow Rose of Texas Republican Women (TYRTRW) are generously donating a copy to every instructional facility in CFISD,” Leslie Francis, assistant superintendent for communication, said.
Keller ISD outside Fort Worth received posters for all of its facilities donated by an individual resident, according to the district.
“In compliance with the amended Texas Education Code 1.004, they have been posted in conspicuous locations, as determined by campus administrators, which is the front office reception area for most of our campuses,” Keller ISD told CNN.
Other states, in recent years, have also mandated the display of the motto.
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