Sen. Dennis Kruse, R-Auburn, has introduced a controversial bill during the 2020 Indiana legislative session. Senate Bill 131, National Motto in Schools, would require, if passed, that schools would have the national motto, “In God We Trust” posted in every classroom and school library. In addition, the bill also would require the United States flag and the Indiana flag also be placed in each classroom and the library.
Kruse asserts that “In God We Trust” should be added to each classroom because it is a national motto. Is this the battle Indiana constituents need this lawmaker to fight when there are so many other education issues? Furthermore, if this bill passes, schools would be responsible for paying for the “In God We Trust” signs. Maybe this senator missed all those teachers complaining about teacher pay on Tuesday, November 19. Even Dr. McCormick has spoken up about funding for schools. With school budgets being tight, adding an unnecessary bill that will cost schools more money is not okay.
This bill is not necessary because a belief on the wall is not going to make a meaningful impact in the classroom. Teachers already have a lot of signs on the wall:
“Be a friend, not a bully.”
“Raise a silent hand.”
“No running in the hall.”
The signs on the wall won’t change the school climate, the teachers do. Ask any effective teacher if a poster was the sole reason they have a classroom with a caring climate where learning is taking place. I bet they won’t tell you about all the posters on the wall.
In contrast, students say the Pledge of Allegiance which has the line, “one nation, under God.” However, students, and teachers, can opt-out. If you opt-out, you still hear other people saying the line. Even if you don’t believe in God, you would be forced to walk by the sign “In God We Trust” if this bill is passed.
Symbols mean nothing without action. There are many God believing, good book following, believers teaching in schools, but you would not know it based on their actions. Some of these teachers yell at students on a daily basis, turn a blind eye to bullying, and cause unnecessary conflict with colleagues. Trust and believe, kids of color would still be kicked out of class at a disproportionate rate as they walk by the “In God We Trust” sign on their way to the office or in-school suspension.
To all senators, stop wasting time in the legislature with these types of bills. Go into some schools. Talk to principals, teachers, classroom assistants and ask them what type of legislation they want. I guarantee you that no one will ask for a damn poster.