More states requiring 'In God we trust' in schools, but not all 'red states' | Fact check

The claim: Public schools in all 'red states' must display 'In God we trust' on campuses

A Sept. 19 Facebook post (direct link, archive link) shows images of an apparent school building and a sign that reads "In God we trust."

Text under the images reads: "All Public Schools in Red States Are Now Mandated to Display 'In God We Trust.'"

Comments show many users took the claim seriously, including one user who wrote, "So much for the separation of church and state!"

The post was shared more than 60 times in two weeks.

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Our rating: Satire

The post was shared by a satirical Facebook page. Not all "red states" have such mandates.

Satirical post misrepresents 'In God we trust' laws

The post was shared by a Facebook page that claims to "specialize" in satire and humor.

"The posts are purely satire and fictional," the Facebook user told USA TODAY in a direct message.

The term "red states' generally refers to states that tend to vote for Republican presidential candidates. Former President Donald Trump won 25 states in the 2020 election.

Not all of those states mandate that the phrase "In God we trust" be displayed on public school campuses.

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For instance, Montana law permits the display of the phrase in public buildings, but "the decision to display 'In God we trust' resides with the local school trustees," Brian O'Leary, spokesperson for the Montana Office of Public Instruction, told USA TODAY in an email.

Mallory McGowin, a spokesperson for the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, told USA TODAY the department was not aware of any such mandate.

Both states have voted Republican in the last six presidential elections.

"There is no mandate that we are aware of, nor one that we could locate, that requires Missouri public schools to display the phrase 'In God we trust,'" she said in an email. "There have been bills filed in the past to make this a requirement, but they have not passed."

However, several other states that Trump won in 2020 do mandate the phrase be displayed in schools.

"This is true for Utah," Ryan Bartlett, a spokesperson for the Utah State Board of Education, told USA TODAY in an email. "The phrase must be displayed at one or more prominent places in each school building."

Louisiana recently passed legislation that mandated the phrase be displayed in individual classrooms.

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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: False claim about schools requiring 'In God we trust' | Fact check