Louisiana classrooms must display Ten Commandments under new law

The Ten Commandments must be displayed in every Louisiana public school classroom starting next year. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

The Ten Commandments must be displayed in all Louisiana public school classrooms starting next year. 

The law, passed by the state’s conservative legislative supermajority, requires the displays – in "large, easily readable font" – in classrooms from kindergarten to public universities. The bill wasn’t signed by Louisiana Republican Gov. Jeff Landry, but his declining to sign or veto it within a certain time frame means it will become law, according to The Associated Press

Opponents have warned that the law will likely be challenged in court. The threat of legal action – and a 1980 Supreme Court decision that called the requirement unconstitutional – has deterred other states like Utah, Texas and Oklahoma from passing similar laws. This makes Louisiana the first state in the nation to enact the requirement. 

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 won’t be paid for with state funds, according to the bill’s language. They’ll be funded through donations instead. 

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.

It’s not the only controversial law the conservative legislature passed in their session that ended earlier this month: A new Louisiana abortion law would make mifepristone and misoprostol, also known as the "abortion pills," a controlled, dangerous substance - the first law of its kind in the nation.

State lawmakers also approved a measure that would allow judges the option to sentence someone to surgical castration after the person has been convicted of certain aggravated sex crimes — including rape, incest and molestation — against a child younger than 13. The National Conference of State Legislatures said it is unaware of any other states that allow judges to impose surgical castration outright.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.