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‘In God We Trust’ coming to schools across the state


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The phrase, which is Florida’s state motto, will need to be “conspicuously” displayed at every school and school building starting on the first day of school.

PANAMA CITY — Starting on the first day of school, all public schools and school district buildings in the state will be required to display the words “In God We Trust.”

The directive comes as part of a change to Florida State Statute 1003.44 covering patriotic programs, part of the controversial omnibus education bill HB 7055 passed last legislative session, requiring the display of the Florida state motto, which happens to be “In God We Trust.” The statute comes with little direction, saying simply the motto must be displayed in a “conspicuous” location. There are more than 4,000 public schools in the state of Florida.

In Bay District, the decision of how and where to display the motto will be left up to the school principals, according to Director of Communications Sharon Michalik.

“It’s up to them to make the decision,” said Michalik, adding that, in an email sent out to the principals, Superintendent Bill Husfelt said he knew the administrators would make the right decision for their schools.

Because the phrase is the Florida state motto, Michalik said some principals are finding that they’ve already fulfilled the requirement by displaying the state seal. She said the district’s media center will begin printing out copies of the state seal to give out to principals for them to display, should they choose to go that route. The seals will also be put up in all of the district’s buildings. Michalik said she expects the schools to meet the deadline of the first day of school — Aug. 15 in Bay District — or have it fulfilled shortly after.

There are currently six states that mandate the display of “In God We Trust” in public schools: Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, Florida, Louisiana and Tennessee. According to the Florida Department of State, “In God We Trust” has been a part of the state seal since 1868, though it wasn’t adopted as the state motto until 2006, replacing “In God is our Trust.” “In God We Trust” is also the official motto of the United States.

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