HPISD Receives ‘In God We Trust’ Posters

Highland Park ISD during its Sept. 13 meeting received a donation of “In God We Trust” signs from Meg Bakich, who said they were from Patriot Mobile. 

The donation came after similar donations from Patriot Mobile, which markets itself as a “Christian conservative wireless service provider” to other North Texas school districts, including Southlake Carroll ISD, Grapevine-Colleyville ISD, and more. Patriot Mobile has also made headlines for its support of school board candidates in other districts.

“We went out and found 11 candidates last cycle and we supported them, and we won every seat. We took over four school boards,” NBC News reported Patriot Mobile president Glenn Story told former Trump adviser Steve Bannon during an interview at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Dallas.

Texas Senate Bill 797, passed in 2021, requires public schools to display posters with the national motto “In God We Trust” in a conspicuous place on campuses if they’re donated. The posters “must contain a representation of the U.S. 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.” 

Earlier this month, other school districts that received similar posters, including Grapevine-Colleyville ISD, Keller ISD, and Mansfield ISD, received cease and desist notices sent on behalf of parents arguing that their posters violated the Texas law because they also contained stars in the background and an extra state flag. 

“The legislature passed this law to set a good example for schoolchildren, so we are taking action to ensure schools do just that, and conspicuously display compliant posters that everyone is sure to love, equally,” civil rights attorney Trenton Lacy said regarding that dispute.

The posters Highland Park ISD chief of staff and director of communications Jon Dahlander accepted from Bakich at the Sept. 13 meeting, though, arrived without the star background or extra state flag.

“Patriot Mobile has donated these beautiful ‘In God We Trust’ framed posters – one for each campus in HPISD – so we are very excited to see these in each of our schools,” Bakich said.

Dahlander said the district is reviewing the posters and the law to ensure they’re in compliance, but they’re expected to be displayed at some point next week.

Rachel Snyder

Rachel Snyder, deputy editor at People Newspapers, joined the staff in 2019, returning to her native Dallas-Fort Worth after starting her career at community newspapers in Oklahoma. One of her stories won first place in its category in the Oklahoma Press Association’s Better Newspaper Contest in 2018. She’s a fan of puns and community journalism, not necessarily in that order. You can reach her at rachel.snyder@peoplenewspapers.com

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