Cease and Desist Letter Sent to Some North Texas Schools Following ‘In God We Trust’ Sign Controversy
In a press release obtained by Inside Edition Digital, a cease and desist letter sent by the Kaplan Law Firm says that “notices to North Texas school districts who refused to remove posters that violate the law and replace them with ones that do not.”
A law firm has sent a cease-and-desist letter to North Texas schools after one district declined “In God We Trust” signs written in Arabic and one with rainbow colors that a civilian living in the area offered at a meeting last week.
In a press release obtained by Inside Edition Digital, a cease and desist letter sent on September 2 by the Kaplan Law Firm says that “notices to North Texas school districts who refused to remove posters that violate the law and replace them with ones that do not.”
It added that: “Texas Senate Bill 797 revised Section 1.004 of the Texas Education Code to require schools to conspicuously display a durable poster or framed copy of the United States national motto, ‘In God We Trust,’ in every school building when such displays are donated. The Code requires: 1. The display must contain a representation of the United States Flag centered under the national motto; 2. Must contain a representation of the state flag; and 3. May not depict any other words or images.”
The press release comes after the board of the Carroll Independent School District in Southlake, Texas, declined the offer of the signs at a meeting earlier in the week after a civilian named Sravan Krishna tried to donate them, according to Washington Times.
However, the school district did accept "In God We Trust" signs from a Christian conservative cellphone company called Patriot Mobile on August 15 to be displayed at all schools, according to WFAA.
The law firm then pointed out in their press release, “A group of parents donated copies of the compliant display created by a Carroll ISD alumnus ... to officials in Carroll, Grapevine-Colleyville, Keller, and Mansfield Independent School Districts. Private corporation Patriot Mobile donated copies of the non-compliant display ... which violates the law because it depicts other images: stars in the background.”
Inside Edition Digital has reached out to Carroll, Grapevine-Colleyville, and Mansfield Independent School Districts for comment and has not heard back.
Keller ISD did respond to Inside Edition Digital’s request for comment saying, “Keller ISD has received a cease and desist request regarding the display of recently donated posters featuring the national motto. It is our practice not to comment on issues of pending or potential litigation, but our legal counsel is reviewing the request and will draft an appropriate response.”
Inside Edition Digital has reached out to Patriot Mobile for comment and has not heard back.
Kaplan civil rights attorney Trenton Lacy said in the press release, “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.”
When reached for comment about the cease and desist letter, Lacy told Inside Edition Digital, “We’ve sent cease and desist letters to all four districts on behalf of parents in those districts. Any potential lawsuit will depend on the districts’ responses; we hope that they’ll do the right thing and replace any noncompliant posters with our clients’ compliant posters without court intervention.”
In the wake of the cease and desist, Inside Edition Digital spoke to Sravan Krishna, who said he felt compelled to donate the rainbow and Arabic signs at the school board because “we heard from many students that felt they were being given a message that the signs were meant to tell them they were outsiders in their own school and we wanted to correct that.”
“We didn’t do this for us, we did this for our kids and they are optimistic because they know we will get it done,” he added.
Krishna, who has lived in the Southlake, Texas, community where the Carroll ISD is located for 11 years, says he is planning on getting those signs hung up not just where he lives but throughout Texas as well.
He says he has been contacted by other parents in the state asking for a “blueprint” on what to do.
“We’ve had many communities throughout Texas and other states ask for our blueprint or wish us well. We have had 3 other communities join us today,” he said.
Krishna’s offering of the signs came less than a week after Florida activist Chaz Stevens launched a GoFundMe campaign to create “In God We Trust” signs in Arabic, as he pointed out on the crowdfunding site, “law seemingly presumes these signs are written in English. Oopsie.”
Stevens told Inside Edition Digital that the he does not know Krishna but praised what he did, saying, “good for him!”
Krishna echoed the sentiment, saying he is “aware” of what Stevens is doing in Florida for Texas adding, “While we were trying to figure out our approach, Chaz Stevens' approach was inspirational too. It’s the right thing to do and we are sure many other communities are doing the same thing. We can learn from each other.”
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