The Carroll school board on Monday night declined to accept diverse “In God We Trust” posters, which were donated by a member of a high-profile local group committed to diversity in Southlake schools.
Sravan Krishna, who is no stranger to Carroll school board meetings, attempted to present two framed posters that could conform to the dictates of Senate Bill 797. One used rainbow hues associated with the LGBT community. The other spelled out the national motto, “In God We Trust,” in Arabic.
“I’m here today to present this, in accordance with SB 797, these ‘In God We Trust’ posters to the schools,” Krishna told the school board. “I would like to request you come and accept them. I’m here to donate these posters in accordance to SB 797.”
Krishna may have taken some of his inspiration from a political activist in Florida who started a GoFundMe campaign to place Arabic “In God We Trust” posters in Texas schools. Chaz Stevens, who has raised $41,000 so far, has set a goal of $250,000 and retained a lawyer, anticipating he will be fighting the Texas law in court.
Krishna’s donation did not appear to be unexpected. Board President Cameron Bryan read a statement thanking Krishna for the offer but declining the poster donation.
“As you may be aware, CISD accepted — as required by law — the SB 797 donation at the August 15 board meeting,” Bryan read. “Therefore, all 11 campuses plus the admin building now have the poster pursuant to SB 797. The statute does not contemplate requiring the district to display more than one copy at a time. Instead, the statute requires a durable poster or framed copy, which limits displays to one poster or framed copy in an effort not to overwhelm schools with donations.”
The well-publicized donation of posters on Aug. 15 was underwritten by the Patriot Mobile Action PAC, a group that has launched a campaign to replace board trustees in four Tarrant County school districts — Grapevine-Colleyville, Mansfield, Keller and Carroll — with Christian conservatives.
Bryan attempted to move on to the next speaker, but Krishna jumped in, noting that nothing in the wording of the rather brief bill, SB 797, limits the number of posters a school or district can accept.
“I’m going to be using up all my minutes,” Krishna said, referring to the three-minute time limit for public comments. “So, it doesn’t say you have to stop at one. That is your decision to stop at one. Right? Why? Why is more God not good? Are you saying you don’t have one square foot of space in our buildings?”
Krishna spoke to the board wearing a Dignity T-shirt. Dignity for All Texas Students is a nonprofit, nonpartisan community group in Southlake committed to diversity, inclusion and belonging in Southlake Carroll. Krishna, who has lived in Southlake with his family for the last decade, is the group’s treasurer.
Bryan declined to entertain any more questions. Krishna said a failure to accept the posters was un-American and used the rest of his minutes to display his posters in silence.