Modified Image on School Yearbook Cover Upsets Some Parents



Parents in suburban Fort Worth, Texas, are expressing anger over an elementary school's decision to remove the phrase “In God We Trust” from its yearbook cover.

Officials at Liberty Elementary School in Colleyville deliberately omitted the words “In God We Trust” from a large image of the new “Liberty” nickel appearing on the cover of the school's inaugural yearbook. The coin features a portrait of Thomas Jefferson, the cursive “Liberty” inscription in Jefferson's own handwriting, and the national motto along the right edge — except, that is, along the edge of the coin's image on this elementary school's yearbook.

Janet Travis, principal of Liberty Elementary School, explains that in making the determination, she wanted to avoid offending students of different religions. But for those who preferred, the yearbook came with a sticker that allowed students to put the phrase “In God We Trust” back on the Liberty nickel.

An attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union told the Ft. Worth Star-Telegram that the move by the school and the district was appropriate, sensitive, and constitutional. “Sometimes administrators and schools are really caught trying to make appropriate decisions with respect to people's views. Someone is always going to complain,” said Dallas attorney Michael Linz. “I think that the school administrators were drawing the appropriate line by trying not to offend others.”

But Debi Ackerman, whose ten-year-old daughter attends Liberty Elementary, says despite the school's intentions, it succeeded in offending “people who believe in our country and what it stands for.”

Ackerman says she had a “huge problem” with the way it was handled. “Instead of printing 'In God We Trust' on the coin image, they didn't print it, and instead sent it home in sticker form in a concealed envelope,” she says. The mom says it was explained to the young students that “there are some people who don't believe in God and that this might not be appropriate for some beliefs — and when you get home, go ahead if you wish to and affix [the sticker] to the yearbook.”

The decision to remove the motto from the coin's image, says Ackerman, is another example of political correctness run amok.

“For me it kind of stemmed from like, Christmas trees aren't being referred to as Christmas trees; they're being referred to as holiday trees,” she says. “And instead of Christmas decorations, it's holiday decorations — and Easter break isn't Easter break anymore, it's Spring break. Then this happened, and for me it was just like they seem to be worried about stepping on the wrong people's toes.”

Interestingly, one of the parent leaders in the school turned the same phrase in an interview with Star-Telegram. “We are a public school,” said Tom Gardner, Liberty PTA president. “We sure do not want to step on anybody's toes. I don't think any harm was intended.”

In an effort to address and perhaps defuse the situation, the school district has issued what it calls an “apology letter” to parents. But Ackerman says it reads more like a “regret letter” than an apology.

(This article courtesy of Agape Press.)

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