PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – In most schools, the priority right now is trying to keep the children focused for the last few days of school.
But in Harrisburg, Jefferson Hills State Rep. Rick Saccone’s “In God We Trust” bill has passed the house.
The bill gives schools the option to post the motto that was authorized by a former Pennsylvania governor in the mid-1800s.
“They need positive role models put in front of their eyes, they are inundated with negative influences in our society and our culture, which celebrates vulgarity and pornography, all kinds of negative things,” Saccone said.
Some parents we spoke to said they liked the idea.
“I think it’s a good idea,” one parent said.
“I think it’s OK,” another said.
“I think god has been so far out of the mainstream lately that all this other stuff is happening,” said Dana Olup of Jefferson Hills.
But school officials will have to decide what happens.
“Every school board, each school district is going to have to decide what’s best for their school district and understand the consequences of that decision,” said West Jefferson Hill Schools Superintendent Mike Panza.
“Just because the state house has issued its blessing doesn’t make it constitutional,” said Sara Rose of the ACLU.
The ACLU is certain the slogan will face a legal challenge even if it is the national motto.
“That doesn’t mean it has a place in public schools,” said Rose.
Panza says there seems to be a priority issue.
“I would like to think the legislature is going to talk about equitable funding and equitable opportunities for all children to learn in school and I think that’s where we really need to be putting our focus right now,” he said.
Of course, before any school must face the decision, the bill must become a law. It’s gone to the Senate and there’s no guarantee when or if they will take it up. And if they do sign it – the governor will have to pass it.