North Texas district declines ‘In God We Trust’ signs in Arabic, rainbow colors despite new law

Carroll ISD said abundance of donations can ‘overwhelm schools,’ but parent says ‘Why is more God not good?’

The Carroll ISD Administration Building in Southlake. (Shelby Tauber For The Texas Tribune, Shelby Tauber For The Texas Tribune)

A North Texas school board rejected “In God We Trust” posters that were written in Arabic and had rainbow colors despite a new law that requires districts to display the signs if donated.

During a Carroll ISD meeting on Monday, a parent named Srivan Krishana presented a donation of four signs during public comment, saying they were made by current and former students.

One had “God” in rainbow colors — the identity of the LGBTQ+ community — and included an American flag and two Texas flags, according to video and images Tweeted by WFAA reporter William Joy.

Another had the words written in Arabic with an American flag, and one had “God” in the colors of the Transgender Pride Flag.

Under new Texas law Senate Bill 797, districts are required to accept and display the signs if they are donated, however, Carroll ISD board president Cameron Bryant said they had already met their quota.

The district has already displayed signs from Patriot Mobile, a Christian conservative cell phone company, and therefore didn’t have to accept the new posters, he said.

“This statute does not contemplate requiring the district to display more than one copy at a time. Instead, the statute requires a durable poster or framed copy, which limits displays to one poster or framed copy in an effort not to overwhelm schools with donations,” Bryant said.

The law, which went into effect last year, does not give a limit for donated signs. It says that the schools must display them “in a conspicuous place in each building of the school or institution.”

“It doesn’t say you have to stop at one, so that is your decision to stop at one,” Krishana said. “Why is more God not good? And are you saying like you don’t have one square feet of space in our buildings?”

When Bryant dismissed Krishana, the parent declined to leave until his allotted speaking time was over.

He used his remaining minute to explain the significance of the imagery.

“This is also our nation’s motto, so I think it’s kind of un-American to reject posters of our nation’s motto as well,” he added.

The Texas Tribune reported that Carroll ISD, which includes Southlake, has come under fire for what people see as a lack of diversity and inclusion.

WFAA reported that on Monday, the board also heard from the grandson of George Dawson, a former slave and author of “Life So Good.”

The school board reportedly reviewed the book over the summer to determine if a chapter about lynching was appropriate for students.

“What are you so afraid of?” Dawson’s grandson, Chris Irvan, told the board. A middle school in CISD is named after Dawson.

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Rebecca Salinas joined KSAT in the fall of 2019. Her skills include content management, engagement and reporting.