Dear Commons Community,
When parents in Southlake, Texas, attempted to donate “In God We Trust” signs written in Arabic and others decorated with rainbow colors, the school board president informed him that schools already have enough posters displaying the national motto.
But under a new law, Texas public schools are required to hang posters emblazoned with “In God We Trust” if someone donates a poster or framed copy to a campus. As reported in The Dallas Morning News.
“We will have to look at what remedies we have so we don’t get excluded from our public schools,” said Southlake parent Sravan Krishna, who requested the trustees take those posters. “We deserve to be included in these efforts as well.”
The Carroll school district earlier this month received a shipment of such signs, with the all-capital letters displayed in white, on a blue background, above the American flag. The posters were donated by Patriot Mobile, a Christian wireless provider tied to a political action committee that spent big money to help elect conservatives to North Texas school board seats.
A student group fighting for change in the district, the Southlake Anti-Racism Coalition, labeled the donations a “blatant intrusion of religion in what should be a secular public institution.”
So coalition members designed an array of alternate posters that included the motto in other languages and with rainbow lettering. Members of the LGBTQ community use the rainbow flag in pride-related events.
Krishna presented the posters — one written in Arabic, the others with rainbows — near the start of Monday night’s meeting.
However, board president Cameron Bryan responded that the district already accepted enough signs to display the national motto at each of Carroll’s campuses and in the administration building.
He said that the district doesn’t have to display more than one copy at a time, so as to not overwhelm campuses.
Krishna pushed back, displaying his posters for the rest of his three-minute allotment during the public comment section. The Texas statute does not mention a limit.
When the Patriot Mobile representatives donated their signs, the Carroll ISD trustees posed for photos with them during their board meeting.
Patriot Mobile’s donation triggered widespread attention and spurred some trolling efforts from across the country. A Florida activist quickly announced plans to raise money to send Texas schools “In God We Trust” signs — written in Arabic.
He’s raised more than $40,000 via a GoFundMe that declares the intent to donate hundreds of signs — in Arabic, Hindi and Klingon and with gay pride symbols — to schools across the state, “flooding the public school system.”
Carroll ISD — an affluent, mostly white district — has been ground zero for the ongoing political fights around how schools should discuss diversity and inclusion. The U.S. Department of Education last fall opened a handful of civil rights investigations into “allegations related to discrimination based on race, color, national origin or sex” within Southlake schools.