Bill Would Require State Motto or Seal to Be Displayed in Schools

Feelings vary at Central High School regarding a bill that would require schools to display the state’s seal or motto.

By Blake Bush

A bill making its way through the South Dakota legislature would require all South Dakota schools to display the state motto or the state logo somewhere prominent within the school. House Bill 1198 has made it out of committee and the House of Representatives and is now in the hands of the state Senate.

Around Central High School, opinions on the bill are mixed but strong. The state motto, “Under God, the people rule” causes problems for a few people. “The display of references to God in public institutions is a serious breach of the separation of church and state,” said Brian Hageman, Central’s meteorology and astronomy teacher. A colleague of Hageman’s in the science department, Adam Schroeder, added, “And it looks like the state’s seal was drawn by a kindergartener.” Despite vocal opponents, the bill has supporters as well. “I’m all for it,” said James Thovson, a history teacher at Central.

Unfortunately, most simply declined or had no comment when asked about bill 1198. This was either because they did not know anything regarding the bill or its attached legislation, or because they thought they weren’t allowed to. “I don’t know if I’m allowed to have an opinion about that,” said Jessica Kelly, a secretary in the front office.

Students, however, face no such obligation to refrain from comment. “It’s incredibly favorable to the white man, specifically the white man’s religion,” said Marrion Smith, a senior at Central. The bill is currently set to pass the house and the senate, it is unclear whether people at Central High School will accept the policy kindly.