YES! Parents and Students Force School to Return "In God We Trust" to Their Marquee
Victor Skinner : Apr 30, 2015
"If ‘In God We Trust' is good enough for our money, it should be good enough for our school signs." -Pastor Joey Ketchum
(Shreveport, LA)—Students and parents at a Louisiana middle school are rejoicing after a lunchtime rally convinced school officials to return the words "In God We Trust" to the school's marquee. About 500 students and supporters donned t-shirts at West Shreveport's Ridgewood Middle School last Friday to protest a recent decision by district officials to remove the words "In God We Trust" from the sign in front of the school, KSLA Newsreports. (Photo via Fox10TV)
The language on the sign came down in March after a citizen complained to the American Civil Liberties Union about prayer in school communications at Walnut Hill Middle School, another middle school in the Caddo Parish School District.
The ACLU contacted district officials about the issue at Walnut Hill, demanded that they remove any religious references of any kind from all of the district's schools, and officials complied. That didn't sit well with students and parents at Ridgewood, who quickly organized a protest that included a t-shirts with the slogan #iStand and an image of what appears to be a Bible.
Pastor Joey Ketchum worked with several dozen students in Ridgewood's Fellowship of Christian Athletes to organize the rally last Friday, and by the end of the day "In God We Trust" was back up on the marquee, KSLA and WSMV report.
"It's printed on our money and when our forefathers started this country, they were talking about Jehovah God [so] if it's good enough for our money, it should be good enough for our school signs," Ketchum told WSMV. (Photo via Fox10TV)
The motto "has been a staple in the community and at their school," he said. "The students, through social media and their cell phones, texting and what not, have taken initiative."
Caddo schools spokesman Bill Strother told KSLA that district attorneys reviewed the law regarding the motto on the sign and concluded that Ridgewood's principal could use his discretion about posting In God We Trust.
Principal Scott Aymond apparently wants to keep the tradition alive.
"I'm so thrilled because that is such a victory for our students," Ketchum told KSLA. "They wanted to take a stand and they did and we're so thrilled to death that their voice was heard loud and clear."
Meanwhile, district officials have conducted an investigation into a newsletter and other communications written to parents by Walnut Hill Elementary and Middle School principal Albert Hardison. The ACLU sent the district a letter in March that alleges Hardison "engaged in unlawful religious coercion" by citing God, the Bible, and Christianity in communications with parents, The Shreveport Times reports.
The ACLU pointed to a newsletter Hardison sent to parents in March in which he asks them to "Please help our children understand the meaning of Philippians 4:13… I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me," according to the ACLU letter cited by the Times.
Parents, teachers, students and others have rallied to support Hardison, both through hundreds of Facebook posts and a rally earlier this month that drew an estimated 1,200 people to Grawood Baptist Church in Keithsville, Fox 10 reports.
"I think the ACLU should stay out of our school and leave us along," Jeanine Rowe—teacher's aide, Parent Teacher Association president, and Hardison supporter—told the Times.
"We are a successful school. We're not hurting anybody. We're not forcing our beliefs on anybody. They are our beliefs," Rowe said.