How “In God We Trust” is being displayed in schools across South Dakota

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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Of the 218 laws passed in the 2019 South Dakota legislative session, one is making national headlines.

Senate Bill 55, signed by Gov. Kristi Noem (R-SD) in March, requires all public schools to display the national motto “In God We Trust.”

It’s a decision that’s sparking quite the discussion on social media.

While the comments have been mostly negative, KELOLAND News ran a poll on Facebook and it shows a pretty split decision of support.

What the law requires

  • The motto has to be in place for the 2019-2020 school year
  • This display has to be in a prominent location in each school
  • It can be a mounted plaque, student artwork or another way determined by the school principal
  • It has to be a minimum of 12″ wide by 12″ wide

How districts are responding to the law

With less than a month until many school districts begin classes, most have “In God We Trust” displayed. KELOLAND News reached out to every superintendent of a public district in the state of South Dakota to see how they’re displaying the national motto.

The below map will update as more photos are sent in.

Here are a few unique ways districts are responding:

Elk Point-Jefferson School District Superintendent Derek Barrios said they put the motto on the school’s “Freedom Wall,” which displays documents that pertain to the country.

The large display on the left is an Eagle Scout project done by one of the school’s seniors, according to Barrios. The “Freedom Wall” also displays branches of the military and local veterans.

The Mitchell School District already had artwork ready to go when the law was passed, according to superintendent Joe Graves.

“One of our students created this work as part of an assignment in our photography class,” Graves said. “It, therefore, seemed a natural to fulfill the call of this new initiative.”

The Platte-Geddes School District’s display may not look like a lot, but there’s a reason behind it.

Superintendent Joel Bailey tells KELOLAND News the signs are in compliance.

The reason they are so plain?

“Our metal fabrication students will be making nicer signs using our plasma table, once school begins,” Bailey said.

You can see all the photos we have received in the interactive map above by clicking on the icon for the school district. If there isn’t an icon, it means we have yet received a photo.