New Louisiana Law States The Ten Commandments Must Be Displayed in All Public Classrooms

The posters are required to be in the classrooms of kindergarten through state-funded universities by the start of 2025

Louisiana public schools will now be required to display the Ten Commandments in every classroom, as per a new law.

Republican Gov. Jeff Landry signed this significant bill on Wednesday, June 19, as reported by the Associated Press and The New York Times.

The law mandates that educators put up a poster-sized display of the Ten Commandments in “large, easily readable font” in every classroom. This will apply to public classrooms from kindergarten to state-funded universities, with the requirement taking full effect by the start of 2025.

Proponents of the new bill argue that this signage is important not just for its religious significance but also for its historical value. The Ten Commandments are referred to in the law as “foundational documents of our state and national government.”

While supporters cherish the historical importance, opponents of the bill have raised concerns about its constitutionality. They’ve cautioned against potential lawsuits. Right after Gov. Landry signed the bill, the American Civil Liberties Union, the American Civil Liberties Union of Louisiana, Americans United for Separation of Church and State, and the Freedom From Religion Foundation announced that they would be filing lawsuits to challenge the law.

“All students should feel safe and welcome in our public schools. H.B. 71 would undermine this critical goal and prevent schools from providing an equal education to all students, regardless of faith. We will not allow Louisiana lawmakers to undermine these religious-freedom rights,” the ACLU stated in a press release on June 19.

Additionally, the required posters will also be accompanied by a four-paragraph “context statement” that describes how the Ten Commandments “were a prominent part of American public education for almost three centuries,” according to the Associated Press.

The posters and context statements will be funded by donations, not state funds.

Additionally, teachers in K-12 public schools are now authorized, but not required, to display other historical documents like the Mayflower Compact, the Declaration of Independence, and the Northwest Ordinances in their classrooms.

Louisiana is leading the way as the first state to successfully pass such a requirement. Over the past year, states including Texas, Oklahoma, and Utah have proposed similar bills, but none have passed due to concerns over their constitutionality, according to the Associated Press.