The Senate Appropriations committee has given its approval to language ensuring the right of schools to display the words “E PLURIBUS UNUM” (Out of Many One)” and “IN GOD WE TRUST.”
Senator Charlie Laster is author of House Bill 2477, known as the “Reading Sufficiency Act.” The Shawnee Democrat amended the measure to include language declaring the right to display the mottos.
“I believe that our schools are within their rights to display those words, but I also know there are many teachers and administrators who are concerned that they could wind up in court if they do. This language simply reaffirms their right to post the words in the classroom, an auditorium or in their cafeteria if they so desire,” said Senator Laster, D-Shawnee.
According to the United States Department of the Treasury, the motto “IN GOD WE TRUST” was placed on United States coins during the Civil War era.
The phrase “E PLURIBUS UNUM,” which appears on the dollar bill, was adopted in 1776 as the motto of the Great Seal, alluding to the unification of the 13 original colonies.
“Reach in your pocket and pull out a penny, or a dime, or a dollar bill. They all have the words ‘In God We Trust’ right there. Maybe there are a few people who would take offense at that—but the fact is, it’s our national motto and there’s nothing wrong with displaying that in the classroom,” explained Laster.
The measure now moves to the full Senate for further consideration. Senator Laster said he was hopeful the bill would be approved.
“This is very basic, common sense legislation. Our national motto is part of our history and identity. I don’t want any person or court to try and prevent Oklahoma school children from learning about a fundamental part of our precious heritage as a nation. This legislation lets our schools know they have our support if they want to display these historic words,” said Laster.