State Watch

Tennessee parents push back on law requiring ‘In God We Trust’ motto be displayed in public schools

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As Tennessee students prepare for the new school year, parents across the state are pushing back against a new law that requires the national motto, “In God We Trust,” be displayed prominently in public schools.

Tennessee lawmakers overwhelmingly passed the legislation in March, but parents are now sharing concerns about the law as kids head back to school.

“I think it excludes people that don’t believe in the Christian God,” Mike Durham, a Knoxville parent, told local NBC affiliate, 10 News.

“I think if you put one religious statement up, you should have to put up a religious statement for everyone that goes to that school, or none at all,” he continued. 


But some parents have expressed support for the new law.

“I think we should all trust in God. It should be everywhere,” a mother told WMC Action News 5.

According to 10 News, GOP Rep. Susan Lynn — who sponsored the legislation — said the “motto and founding documents are the cornerstone of freedom, and we should teach our children about these things.” 

Under the law’s terms, schools are required to display the motto in a “prominent location” such as a school entryway, cafeteria or common area. 

Knox County Schools Public Affairs Director Carly Harrington told 10 News that the county has been supplying schools with posters displaying the motto.

The move comes as some state legislatures across the South — including Florida, Arkansas and South Carolina — have discussed similar measures that would require public schools to display the motto.

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