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Fayette Schools Fulfill 'In God We Trust' Requirement With Almighty Dollar

Josh James

Fayette County public schools have found an unexpected – and affordable – way to meet a new state law requiring the posting of the national motto “In God We Trust” in schools.

District Superintendent Manny Caulk said all schools in the district have been sent framed copies of a $1 bill, fulfilling requirements of a new state law passed during the 2019 legislative session.

FCPS parent Brittany Pike, an atheist, said larger displays like the ones likely intended by lawmakers would not serve all students. 

"I think it would just make kids feel excluded, not just my children, not just atheist children, but children who are non-Christian in general," she tells WUKY. "There are many different religions in Fayette County. We're very urban part of Kentucky and I don't think that Fayette County wants anyone to come to school and feel like they're not supported and they're not included." 

Pike applauds the dollar bill idea. 

"I think it's kind of low key. My child who goes to Athens Chilesburg (Elementary) was like, 'Why is there a dollar hanging on the wall?'" she says. "I think it's a really good way of fulfilling it and not making it a big issue." 

Rep. Brandon Reed, a Hodgenville Republican, crafted the bill that ultimately passed the General Assembly. He tells the Associated Press he's disappointed to see schools "spend time searching for silly loopholes," noting the law passed with broad support.

"It's on our money. It's in the House of Representatives and Senate, above the speaker and the president. It's a big part of our history," says Rep. Kevin Bratcher, a co-sponsor. "I know that if you had a poll or a referendum on this, it would be probably 75 percent plus."

Under the law, the schools are required to post the motto in a clear spot, like an entryway or cafeteria.

Josh James fell in love with college radio at Western Kentucky University's student station, New Rock 92 (now Revolution 91.7). After working as a DJ and program director, he knew he wanted to come home to Lexington and try his hand in public radio.
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