Foundation complaint results in removal of religious poster in Wisconsin public school

The Freedom From Religion Foundation successfully influenced a public elementary school in Baldwin, Wis., to remove an “In God We Trust” poster displayed in the school near the high-traffic cafeteria area. In a letter to the principal of Greenfield Elementary, Foundation attorney Patrick Elliott summarized the history of the motto “In God We Trust,” explaining that it serves no secular purpose. “For those students and parents who don’t believe in a god or have beliefs contrary to a monotheistic faith, an ‘In God We Trust’ poster in their school is offensive. . . . This message alienates nonbelievers and turns them into outsiders of their community,” Elliott noted. He reminded the principal that public school districts are prohibited from displaying religious messages and iconography on the walls of public schools. “It is important to note that courts are vigilant in protecting public school children from religious influence by school authorities. Even messages that may be displayed in other public settings might be unconstitutional when displayed in a public elementary school because young children are impressionable and their attendance at school is required,” the letter said. The complainant, a parent of a student at the school, reported two weeks later that the poster had been removed.

Freedom From Religion Foundation