A sign — some consider to be controversial — is now on the walls of Northwest Arkansas schools. Some appreciate this action but it is also is a concern for others.
Benton County schools are the first to implement a new law.
222 “In God We Trust” signs were donated to Pea Ridge Schools where they are now hung up in classrooms across the district.”
“Every sign that we have has to be put up,” Mark Laster from Pea Ridge Schools said.
Arkansas’ Act 9-1-1 requires the state to display framed “In God We Trust” signs inside classrooms, under one condition.
“No public funds are used, and they have to be donated,” Laster said.
The posters originally came from the American History and Heritage Foundation.
Mark Laster from Pea Ridge Schools says the district is just following protocol.
“Anytime there is a new law, you are going to have opinions and they have a right to their opinion,” Laster said. But it doesn’t change what we do as a public school and what we do here is follow the law.”
Almost 900 signs were also provided to Bentonville Schools.
Casey Goodman – who’s wife works in the district – says this is a nationalist effort.
“Classrooms are supposed to be built between the teachers and the students, not an outside force,” Bentonville resident Casey Goodman said.
Goodman says this one piece of paper could have a lasting impact on inclusion within schools.
“We are now sliding down a hill,” Goodman said. “There are other religions inside schools besides Christianity. Have these outside people looked at a classroom now-a-days? It is not just a bunch of white kids.”
But Pea Ridge says the signs aren’t there to influence everyone.
“One of the things we strive for is “uncommon education for all”,” Laster said. “It is not anything that is forced, it is just something now that we do as a school district.”