Public school students in Louisiana will see the motto “In God We Trust” when they return to class this year.
A bill signed into law by Governor John Bel Edwards in May 2018 will require the state’s public schools to display the motto “in each building it uses and in each school under its jurisdiction” by the 2019-2020 school year.
The law, first introduced in March 2018 as Senate Bill 224 by Democratic State Senator Regina Ashford Barrow, said that the way the motto was displayed would be “determined by each governing authority” but needed to be at least a paper sign.
The law also included a requirement that students be educated about the U.S. flag and “patriotic customs” by fifth grade, as part of their social studies curriculum. Instruction about “In God We Trust” would be included with the patriotic customs.
“This is our national motto. It’s also on our currency. So I think it’s really important that we ensure that young people understand the patriotic history of our country and how it was founded and its purpose,” Barrow said while discussing the bill in the Louisiana Senate chamber in April of 2018.
Passage of the bill was approved by a 33-0 vote in the Senate, and a 93-0 vote in the House before it was signed by the governor.
Louisiana is not the only state where public schools will be required to display the motto this year.
Public school students in South Dakota will also see the motto in their schools after a bill signed by the state’s governor, Kristi Noem, took effect in July.
The motto was first placed on U.S. coins “largely because of the increased religious sentiment existing during the Civil War,” and appeared for the first time on the 1864 two-cent coin, according to the U.S. Department of the Treasury. A law passed in July 1956 declared “In God We Trust” the national motto of the U.S.