When Brittany Pike saw the back of a dollar bill framed at Lexington's Athens Chilesburg Elementary School last week, she couldn't have been more pleased.
Pike took a photo and posted it on Facebook Wednesday along with this message about Fayette County Public Schools' response to Kentucky's new law that requires the national "In God We Trust" motto to be displayed prominently at schools:
"This school year Kentucky began requiring schools to place 'In God We Trust' in the building. I absolutely love living in a school district that wants to follow the law while also ensuring EVERY student feels welcomed back regardless of religious beliefs. Thank you so very much Fayette County Public Schools for simply posting a dollar with 'In God We Trust.' My kids don't feel awkward or excluded for not believing in any God."
Fayette Superintendent Manny Caulk said Wednesday afternoon that in complying with the new law, "all schools in our district have been provided a framed version of an enlarged copy of a $1 dollar bill to display in a prominent location."
Pike told the Herald-Leader that her husband is the state director at the group American Atheists, and has been working behind the scenes to address the new law.
She said her child noticed the framed dollar bill at ACE last week and asked about it.
"We are pleased that that's what Fayette County had decided to do to fulfill the law but also to let everybody feel included at the same time," Pike said.
In a blog post entitled "A KY School District Found a Brilliant Loophole for the 'In God We Trust' Law," blogger Hemant Mehta writing under the heading "The Friendly Atheist" said "It's a brilliant move."
The new law is required as a result of legislation filed by State Rep. Brandon Reed, a Republican minister from Hodgenville. It said in part that beginning in the 2019-2020 school year, local boards shall require each public elementary and secondary school to display the national motto of the United States, "In God We Trust," in a prominent location in the school.
In response, Reed said, "It is extremely disappointing to see Fayette County Public Schools spend time searching for silly loopholes to a law that passed with broad support from both Democrats and Republicans and received over 70 votes in the House of Representatives.'
"Instead of empowering students by allowing them to create artwork displaying our national motto, Fayette County has instead chosen to play political games and deprive students of that opportunity," said Reed. "Many districts across the state have chosen the avenue of creative student artwork, which my bill expressly allowed for and would come at little to no cost to our schools. Our national motto is prominently displayed in other public institutions, and is something to be proud of, not ashamed. I hope to see FCPS reconsider their unfortunate decision."
Other Kentucky districts have purchased larger signs to comply with the law.