Girl on Bus

A girl stares out the window of an Alachua County school bus on West University Avenue.

Alligator File Photo

All Florida schools would be required to display “In God We Trust” come July if this Florida bill passes.

The House Pre K-12 Innovation subcommittee unanimously backed the bill, HB 839, Tuesday, which would mandate buildings used by a district school board to display the state motto, “In God We Trust,” in a visible location. It now awaits consideration in the House Education Committee. State Sen. Keith Perry, (R-Alachua), has filed a similar bill in the Senate.

The bill’s primary sponsor, Rep. Kimberly Daniels (D-Duval County), is a Christian author and founder of Kimberly Daniels Ministries International. During the subcommittee’s meeting, she said prominently displaying the motto will educate children on the state’s history.

“This motto is inscribed on the walls of this great capitol and inked in our currency, and it should be displayed so that our children will be exposed and educated on this great motto, which is a part of this country’s foundation,” she said.

Daniels believes the cost schools will pay for installing the symbol in buildings will be insignificant.

“I think the importance of our children knowing the history and being able to see this will far much outweigh whatever small cost there may be,” she said.

Alachua County Public Schools spokesperson Jackie Johnson said it’s too early for the school board to determine how much this bill would cost Alachua County schools. If the bill continues to move through the legislature, the school board would want clarification on how the bill will be implemented, she said.

“I think it’s safe to assume that (the school board) would have some concerns about whether or not it’s constitutional,” she said.

Jennifer Scott, who has six children in ACPS, is torn about the bill. Scott said, as a Christian, it is exciting to see God included in public schools but understands that not everybody has the same beliefs.

“There are a lot of people who aren’t Christians, and I feel like I hate to impose my beliefs on people,” she said.

Contact Jessica Giles at [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter at @jessica_giles_.