FRANKFORT, Ky. (WYMT/WKYT) - A lawmaker pre-filed a measure that, if passed, would require all public elementary and secondary schools to display "In God We Trust" in a prominent location.
The national motto, in place since 1956, is featured on money and license plates, among other things.
Representative Brandon Reed's bill defines a prominent location as a school entryway, cafeteria or common area where students can see the motto easily.
Tennessee is among several states which have passed similar laws.
“There is no reason for us to be ashamed of our national motto; it is a vital part of our culture,” said Representative Reed of Hodgenville. “We are one nation under God, and that reality should be reflected in public life, including in the buildings where our children are being educated.”
If the Kentucky General Assembly passes BR 159 in 2019, schools would have to put up the motto at the beginning of the 2019-2020 school year. The motto can be a mounted plaque, student artwork or a similar item.
“In a time of rampant drug use, increasing school violence, and mounting cases of suicide among our youth, we need God in our schools now more than ever,” Reed added.
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Kentucky is against the bill and plans to fight it.
"The most basic way to respect Kentuckians' right to religious freedom is for government officials to stop promoting religious ideals, beliefs, texts and prayers in our public schools," said the ACLU advocacy director.
"From the negative feedback we've received, that just tells me we are doing the right thing," said Reed.
The ACLU worries such a bill would cause some students to feel detached from their classmates.
"Time and time again, we've seen students who practice a different religious tradition, or no religion at all, be made to feel like outsiders in their own school community," said Kate Miller with the ACLU.