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Law Firm Demands Removal of ‘In God We Trust’ Signs

Education

An Austin-based law firm, recently sent cease and desist notices on behalf of North Texas residents to a handful of local school districts for allegedly violating state law by improperly displaying donated signage featuring the national motto, "In God We Trust." | Image by @SenBryanHughes/Twitter

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Kaplan Law, an Austin-based law firm, recently sent cease and desist notices on behalf of North Texas residents to a handful of local school districts for allegedly violating state law by improperly displaying donated signage featuring the national motto, “In God We Trust.”

These actions mark the latest controversy surrounding the signs, which themselves are a consequence of a state law passed in 2021 that requires their display in a conspicuous location if they meet specific criteria.

Specifically, the law mandates that donated signage “must contain a representation of the United States flag centered under the national motto and a representation of the state flag; and may not depict any words, images, or other information other than the representations listed” previously.

Kaplan Law claimed in a publicly-released statement about their cease and desist letters that signage donated to these districts by “private corporation Patriot Mobile” is “non-compliant” and “violates the law because it depicts other images: stars in the background.”

In their cease and desist letter to Grapevine-Colleyville ISD (GCISD), Kaplan Law attorney Trenton Lacy laid out their interpretation of state law, highlighting that a donated sign “may not depict any other words or images.”

Lacy’s interpretation did not include the provision “or other information,” which is also in the statute at issue. In the letter, Lacy stated that GCISD’s current national motto signage was “noncompliant for multiple reasons.”

“It contains no fewer than thirty-one (31) fully or partially visible five-pointed stars, all of which are prohibited by the plain language of the statute. Section 1.004 also only permits ‘a representation of the state flag,’ whereas the GCISD poster unlawfully depicts multiple state flags. Because the statute forbids any extraneous images or information — including dozens of five-point stars and an extra state flag —  the GCISD poster is clearly noncompliant,” Lacy wrote.

He then admonished GCISD for refusing to “display compliant signs” that parents from the district recently attempted to donate. He mentioned one such sign with “God” written in rainbow lettering, as reported by The Dallas Express.

Lacy did not explain how “fully or partially visible” stars in the background were non-compliant for being “extraneous images or information,” while at the same time urging for the utilization of the rainbow, a well-known symbol of the LGBT community.

The Dallas Express reached out to First Amendment lawyer and expert Tony McDonald on this potential discrepancy in Lacy’s interpretation. He replied, stating that Kaplan Law’s cease and desist letters “appear to be nothing more than a shakedown” and called their position on the legal matter “a bit silly.”

“I can’t imagine how anyone would have standing to sue over the inclusion of stars in the Patriot Mobile sign, so I doubt a court will ever opine on the subject. I expect any lawsuit they file will be dismissed,” McDonald concluded.

Lacy gave GCISD and the other districts he contacted until September 9 to comply with his demands, or else his law firm would move to take the matter to court on behalf of their clients.    

We welcome and appreciate comments on The Dallas Express as part of a healthy dialogue. We do ask that you be kind. Kind to each other and to everyone else in your comments. For more information, please refer to our Complete Comment Moderation Policy.

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Pat Wilson
Pat Wilson
16 days ago

I would never use this Anti-American law firm

Bobby
Bobby
Reply to  Pat Wilson
16 days ago

I wouldn’t ether

Robert Hernandez
Robert Hernandez
16 days ago

That atty office and the school districts are of the devil.

Mark Eddins
Mark Eddins
16 days ago

This type of woke, anti-American, anti-free speech, and socialist action by ANY law firm should be baned, NOT the sign!
They should be ashamed of themselves.

Nancy
Nancy
16 days ago

I would never use that law firm! Send them on to China! Trouble makers!😡🤬🤮

Lay Monk Jeffery
Lay Monk Jeffery
16 days ago

If you are not comfortable with “our” motto then maybe you should pack your bags and leave this great nation. You keep taking God away, His wrath is coming and those who are not with, will receive! I pray that these law firms that care more about the dollar will turn to Jesus and ask for forgiveness then act on that forgiveness. There is way too much division happening in the U.S and it only seems to be getting worse! It is written and we are in the last days.
“Look up for the season is coming”.
⚓️

Danielius
Danielius
Reply to  Lay Monk Jeffery
15 days ago

I’ve always found it interesting that we can believe in a God who has infinite love, while being afraid of his wrath. This is nothing but mythical primitive thinking, much like the Baptist preacher in Hurst calling for gays to be shot in the back of the head. Remember, the Bible was written by men who still thought the Earth was flat. They weren’t all-knowing geniuses.

R S
R S
Reply to  Danielius
14 days ago

It was written by those appointed by God. Science came later. God came first. Take the any religion out of this. Religion is man-made. Just read the Bible. God is above all. (Including men).

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DWG
DWG
15 days ago

You all are missing the point. I read there’s too much division, yet we cast judgement on those that don’t hold our same beliefs. This firm is highlighting the hypocrisy. The school displays signs that clearly embody the idea of Christianity, but will not accept signs that seem to promote ideologies that are not Christian. It is to point out the trepidation of trying to dictate the requirements of the ridiculous law passed 2021.

R S
R S
Reply to  DWG
14 days ago

Maybe because Christian “ideology” saves people, and the others do not? God is above ALL! God is of no religion. Religion is man made. Just read the Bible. It was written by those appointed by God, not just those who believed the world is flat. Science came later. God came first. Good luck.