Marshall County Schools' students, along with all other Kentucky students attending public schools, will notice a new addition to the walls of their school buildings this year: a bold and patriotic display of the United States national motto, "In God We Trust." The 2019 Kentucky General Assembly joined several other states in passing the legislation for that requirement this year.
Marshall County Schools Superintendent Trent Lovett said his staff has followed the law, Kentucky Revised Statute (KRS) 158.195, to the letter. He noted the staff selected a display that would look nice and said the display will be identical in each of the district's schools.
Marshall County Schools Personnel Director Amanda Henderson said she and a few staff members reviewed several options for display and ultimately chose the one which features the American flag as well as the Kentucky flag. The large photo, which will be framed, also features a portion of the American flag around the border, the words "In God We Trust," emboldened in gold and features the national emblem with the bald eagle.
Each display will be framed, Henderson said, and she's ordered one for each school. Regarding where they will be located, she said the administrators at each school will have the option to choose the location since each building's layout is unique. But she noted the law specifically states the motto must be displayed in a "prominent location," meaning school entryway, cafeteria or common area "where students are likely to view it."
Henderson also noted the law does not require the motto in all district-owned buildings, just elementary and public school buildings. So the bus garage, she said, for example, is not required by law to feature the display.
KRS 158.195 became effective June 27, 2019 and requires all elementary and secondary schools to display the national motto. The display may be a mounted plaque or even student artwork, but the law is not extremely specific about the form it should take; it is explicitly direct in that the motto be displayed in a prominent location.
The KRS also states the local boards of education may allow teachers or administrators in public schools to read or post in the school buildings and classrooms or during events excerpts or portions of: the national motto; national anthem; pledge of allegiance; preamble to the Kentucky Constitution; Declaration of Independence; Mayflower Compact; writings, speeches, documents and proclamations of the founding fathers and presents of the United States; U.S. Supreme Court decisions; acts of the U.S. Congress including the published text of the Congressional Record. It further mandates no content-based censorship of American history or heritage in the commonwealth based on religious references in those writings, documents and records.