Hawkins Co. commissioner wants ‘In God We Trust’ motto in all county buildings, classrooms

HAWKINS COUNTY, TN (WJHL) – A Hawkins County commissioner wants to display the motto “In God We Trust” in all public buildings.

Carolyn McClellan, who lives in Hawkins County, likes the idea.

“I think it’s awesome,” McClellan said.

Commissioner B.D. Cradic is introducing the resolution that would require all public buildings, offices, schools, including classrooms, and anywhere else students may gather, to have the words displayed.

News Channel 11 was unable to reach Cradic Monday, but fellow Commissioner Robert Palmer spoke about some of his concerns.

“I think it’s a good resolution. But there’s still several if, ands, and buts that are in it that need to be worked out,” Palmer said.

One of his concerns is funding. The county is currently facing a $2 million deficit for the upcoming fiscal year.

“I have no idea how many classrooms there are in Hawkins County. How many public offices, public places. The way the resolution is stated, I have no idea how many this will be but it will be a lot,” Palmer explained.

Palmer questioned whether the funding could come from public donations.

But the resolution does mention one solution to help display the motto.

“Classrooms could hold contests and maybe have like a drawing or something of a picture with these words included. Pick one out and that one would be displayed in their classrooms,” Palmer said.

He thinks the resolution will probably pass, but not without some controversy.

“If one child in a classroom opposed this being posted in their class, will we have to remove it?”

The full commission will hear the resolution next Monday, March 27 at 7 p.m.

News Channel 11 reached out to Hawkins County Director of Schools, Steve Starnes. He sent the following statement:

“The Hawkins County Board of Education was not consulted prior to the submission of this resolution. On behalf of the Board, I would respectfully request that the inclusion of the schools, including classrooms, be removed from this resolution. The Board, as the duly elected governing body for the school system, would like the opportunity to determine the merits of this issue and determine if it is in the best interest of the school system.”
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