Governor Signs Classroom Ten Commandments Law

Louisiana is the first state to require display in all public school classrooms
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jun 19, 2024 2:23 PM CDT
Louisiana Requires 10 Commandments in All Classrooms
Workers repaint a Ten Commandments billboard off Interstate 71 near Chenoweth, Ohio.   (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File)

Under a bill signed into law by Republican Gov. Jeff Landry on Wednesday, Louisiana has become the first state to require that the Ten Commandments be displayed in every public school classroom. The GOP-drafted legislation mandates that a poster-sized display of the Ten Commandments in "large, easily readable font" be required in all public classrooms, from kindergarten to state-funded universities, the AP reports.

  • The displays, which will be paired with a four-paragraph "context statement" describing how the Ten Commandments "were a prominent part of American public education for almost three centuries," must be in place in classrooms by the start of 2025.

  • The posters would be paid for through donations. State funds will not be used to implement the mandate, based on language in the legislation. The law also "authorizes"—but does not require—the display of the Mayflower Compact, the Declaration of Independence, and the Northwest Ordinance in K-12 public schools.
  • Opponents question the law's constitutionality, warning that lawsuits are likely to follow. Proponents say the purpose of the measure is not solely religious, but that it has historical significance. In the law's language, the Ten Commandments are described as "foundational documents of our state and national government."
  • The Tennessean reports that Landry boasted about the bill at a Republican fundraiser in Nashville on Saturday. "I'm going home to sign a bill that places the Ten Commandments in public classrooms," he said. "And I can't wait to be sued."

(More Louisiana stories.)

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