God has reappeared in Florida public schools.
Beginning in August of 2018, all public schools in the state were required to display the words “In God We Trust” in a conspicuous place on campus.
Governor Rick Scott chose to fulfill the recently passed law by displaying the Florida State seal which contains the motto that has been in place since 2006. This new law was sponsored by Kimberly Daniels, a Democratic member of the Florida House of Representatives who runs a Christian ministry. Her reason for sponsoring this law was in response to the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting, and her motivations have sprung up some controversy.
“Few would disagree with me that God is positive. He’s not a Republican and he’s not a Democrat,” said Daniels in an article from the Orlando Sentinel. “He’s not black, and he’s not white. He is the light. And our schools need light in them like never before.”
This law is legal under chapter 1003 in the Florida Statue’s education code which states that schools are permitted to display the state motto and other related items because of the Patriotic program.
“We had to comply as soon as we could before the school year,” said Don Nelson, supervisor of operations at Duval County Public Schools. “Over the summer, we all came together and placed the Florida seal in all public schools in conspicuous places like the main office or school library.”
“I don’t think it [“In God We Trust”] should be in our pledge, our schools, or our motto,” said Denise Harbin, English teacher. “I feel like it excludes other religions.”
Some people don’t see this new law as something necessarily wrong.
“We’re making this issue bigger than it needs to be,” said Dylan Hardisty, piano junior. “We have more important things to worry about than a motto.”
Regardless of whether citizens believe that the controversial motto should be in schools or not, Scott has already signed Florida State Statue 1003.44 which has made this law completely official and these state seals can either be found in a school’s main office or library.
“It isn’t a belief in God that keeps people from committing violence,” said Harbin. “It’s a belief in their fellow men.”