The signs had the correct message, as required by law. One said “In God We Trust” on a rainbow background. Another was in Arabic. But the Carroll School District in North Texas rejected the signs, saying it already had enough for its buildings.
“Why more God is not good?” came the replica of Srivan Krishna, a local resident who sought to donate the colorful panels to a school council meeting in Southlake, a town in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, earlier this week.
Board Chairman Cameron Bryan did not address the issue, saying only that by accepting an earlier donation at its Aug. 15 meeting, the school district had enough signs for all 11 campuses and its office building. .
The signs are part of the pushback from a new Texas law
Krishna and others are testing the limits and logic of SB 797, a recently passed Texas law that requires public schools to display a sign with the US motto “In God We Trust”. The main requirements of the law are that posters include the state and United States flags, and that schools do not pay for them.
“The law does not contemplate requiring the district to display more than one copy at a time,” Bryan said in a video recording Of the reunion. But Krishna disagreed, saying the law did not refer to the number of posters to be displayed.
“It doesn’t say you have to stop at one,” he said. “So it’s your decision to stop at one.”
“I think it’s a bit un-American to reject posters of our national motto,” Krishna told board members.
This remark went unanswered, as the council did not hold an open debate on whether to accept the panels. Instead, Bryan delivered a “statement of factual information” in which the council told Krishna and his allies that he would not accept their signs.
Krishna and others who oppose the state law were only able to speak during the open comment section of the meeting, as the panels were not on the council’s official agenda. .
Bryan tried twice to call the next speaker before Krishna’s three minutes expired. But Krishna held on, and in the end he stood silently displaying the four signs he had brought.
Another speaker, Jennifer Schutter, later said the posters were designed by current and former Southlake students, adding that she was “very disappointed” that the board did not accept the signs.
“Also, I think it’s important to know publicly that there was an attempt to get on the agenda tonight to present these with pomp and circumstance,” Schutter said, “and it was refused.”
Opponents will continue to test the new law
Efforts to test new Texas law are led in part by Florida activist Chaz Stevenswho says he is upset that the law requires the insertion of an overt religious message in schools.
“It should be irritating to you, whatever God or non-God you believe in,” Stevens recently told NPR.
Steven’s fundraiser to pay for posters and signs that read “In God We Trust” in different languages, including Vulcan, and submit them to school districts in Texas has now raised over $42,000.