Most Northwest Florida students return to school within the week — and new signage will be there to greet them.
The Florida Legislature recently signed a bill into law that instructs all public schools and school district buildings to display the words “In God We Trust” by the first day of school this year. There are more than 4,000 public schools in Florida.
The mandate comes as a part of a change for Florida State Statute 1003.44, which covers patriotic programs. The bill — part of the omnibus education bill HB 7055 passed last legislative session — requires schools to display the words that serve as both the state and national mottos.
The statute requires that the motto must be displayed in a “conspicuous” location. Some local superintendents are allowing the principals to determine the placement of the motto in each school.
Walton County Superintendent Russell Hughes said principals received the signage last week, and it will be up to them where to display the words that are framed and printed on poster board.
The Okaloosa County School District is still waiting for their signs to arrive before the Aug. 13 first day of school.
“The school district is in the process of completing this mandate,” Superintendent Mary Beth Jackson said. “Barring any complications with the production of the signs, the plan is to have signs up in all our schools and auxiliary buildings by the start of the … school year.”
According to Superintendent Tim Wyrosdick of Santa Rosa County, the district will have the signs up before their first day.
"We are putting posters with the language in every school site," Wyrosdick said. "Mainly in the front office."