When you’re a lawmaker, you have no other choice than to sort out all of the nuances of the laws that you’re preparing to enact before they actually hit the public. Otherwise, there’s going to be a group of people who will look at it from a “think outside the box” perspective and will find loopholes to take advantage of.
Now, sometimes it’s a serious case that requires repeals and amendments to the legalese, but in other instances, it can be quite harmless and even interestingly funny.
If a law requires you to put up a “In God We Trust” sign in your school, a dollar bill works, right?
Image credits: Brittany Pike
Last year, Kentucky State passed a law that requires all public elementary and secondary schools to display the national motto of the United States—“In God We Trust”—in a prominent location somewhere in the school building. This law was filed by Brandon Reed, a State Representative and Republican Minister from Hodgenville.
It was explained that a prominent location can be a school entryway, cafeteria, or any other common area where students are likely to see the motto. Also, schools were allowed to choose the form in which the motto would be displayed, and it is not limited to being a mounted plaque or even student artwork.
Due to a lack of proper wording in the legislation itself, schools were effectively left with near-full liberty to do whatever they wanted in meeting this law. So a number of schools in Fayette County, Kentucky decided to frame and hang a pristine one dollar bill in whatever “prominent location” they found best suited for this.
Surprisingly, it does, as a number of schools did so because the law technically permitted it with the dollar bill containing the famous motto in the center
Image credits: Josh Douglas
Image credits: Unknown
You see, besides the various imagery, symbolism, and writing printed on the one-dollar bill, the back side also contains the country’s motto “In God We Trust.” Since the law did not explain how big the writing should be, or what form it should come in, the schools thus decided to use the dollar bill as the medium for the public display of the motto.
Brittany Pike, a resident of Lexington, Fayette County, stumbled upon one such display and snapped a picture of it, which she later shared on her Facebook with the following caption:
“This school year, Kentucky began requiring schools to place ‘In God We Trust’ in the building. I absolutely love living in a school district that wants to follow the law while also ensuring EVERY student feels welcomed back regardless of religious beliefs. Thank you so very much, Fayette County Public Schools, for simply posting a dollar with ‘In God We Trust.’ My kids don’t feel awkward or excluded for not believing in any God.”
Due to a lack of proper wording, the law has also permitted a number of other artistic interpretations, and it’s not just in Kentucky
Image credits: Katy Urban/Rapid City Area Schools
Image credits: Simons Middle School in Flemingsburg.
This does pull up a good point: while it’s all fine and dandy to be proud of who you are and of your faith, this does come off as forcing religion in a country that gives full liberty to decide whether to be a person of faith (and also which faith) or not.
Regardless, you should hand it to the schools—it was quite an interesting move to venture away from the beaten path of plaques and student posters and to conform to the written letter, but not really the spirit, of what the law requires.
This also gives way for much more interpretation and an outlet for the schools’ stance on the motto: is it a form of protest and an allusion to a free America, or is it the schools’ way of saying that their students are #1 and their teachers need a raise?
While some schools involved their students, others took the lazy way out and just put up a printout
Image credits: Trey Crumbie
Image credits: Green County High School
Representative Brandon Reed has since then heard of the news and has said that he was not surprised to see schools taking the “loophole way out” by doing the minimum. He elaborated that this was OK, but it was just sad to see, as this is the nation’s motto, after all, and there is nothing to be ashamed of.
The dollar bill soon began making headlines when a resident of Lexington, Fayette County posted it on her Facebook
Image credits: Trey Crumbie
A number of other schools also took liberties (albeit more conservative) to display the country’s motto, which you can find featured in this article. But before you check them out, why not let us know what your thoughts are on this? If you were a school rep, how would you have your school comply with this law? Let us know in the comments section below!
Image credits: Larue County High School
Rep. Brandon Reed expected this and said it was OK, but it was also sad that schools willingly decided to put up a dollar bill instead of giving it a proper representation
Image credits: Monroe County Area Technology Center
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