Katy ISD displaying 73 ‘In God We Trust’ signs donated by far-right Texas cell phone company

Patriot Mobile, a far-right Texas-based cell phone company on a mission to “bring God back” to public schools, donated 73 “In God We Trust” signs, so that one could be displayed at each Katy ISD campus, according to district records.

District officials said this week that they are complying with a 2021 state law that requires public schools to display donated copies of the US national motto in a conspicuous place.

“Katy ISD has received donated signs in accordance with (state law) and has displayed the signs across its campuses in compliance with Texas Education Code,” said Maria Corales-DiPetta, general manager of media relations for the district.

Patriot Mobile, based in Grapevine, created a political action committee that flooded hundreds of thousands of dollars into Texas school board races this year, according to an NBC News investigation.

The company donated the same signs to North Texas schools in August, saying it has donated a total of 1,000 posters to public schools in the Lone Star State.

“Many Christians have joined in the effort and presented these donated signs to their school districts or donated their own signs,” reads Patriot Mobile’s website. “This has become a movement to bring God back into our schools!”

Anne Russey, a parent in the district, said she was disturbed to see one of the signs displayed in the entryway of her children’s elementary school last month.

“To me, the sign is a symbol that says (far-right) are coming for Katy school board seats that will be up for election in the spring,” she said. “They are aware of our school district and are actively infiltrating our schools. It should concern a lot more people than it probably does.”

In a Sept. 12, email to the district, Sarah Feigleson, education leader for the political action group Fort Bend County Citizens Defending Freedom, said she arranged the donation with Glenn Story, the founder and CFO of Patriot Mobile.

“It is important to know that the parties involved in this donation do not want to be credited publicly and would prefer the donation is made private,” Feigleson wrote in the email.

Feigleson and Patriot Mobile did not respond to requests for comment.

After citing the law requiring districts to display such donations, Feigleson said the signs would be handed over that week.

The law also requires representations of the US and Texas flags to be pictured on the posters and cannot include any other words or images. Carroll ISD, near Fort Worth, in August rejected “In God We Trust” signs written in Arabic and with rainbows.

Feigleson has publicly spoken out against “foul and disgusting” content in school library books, including the title “This Book is Gay” by award-winning author Juno Dawson. She credits herself as a mother who spearheaded a group who began scrutinizing literature in Katy ISD school libraries, prompting removals and reviews of some books in December.

Katy ISD is one of the more restrictive school systems in the state in its response to book challenges, having at least partially removed 43 of the 104 titles it reviewed since 2018, according to responses to public requests in a Houston Chronicle analysis.

Feigleson also rallied against a drag bingo event last month at a Katy church.

“Drag queens and babies don’t mix,” she said in a Texas News report. “These events are happening in your backyard. Stand up and make a respectable commotion.”

The event drew more than 100 protesters, including members of the white supremacist group Patriot Front, the neo-facist group Proud Boys and the neo-Nazi group, Aryan Freedom Network.

Feigleson’s email said Victor Perez, a newly elected school board member, also made the superintendent and board president aware of the donation before her email correspondence.

Perez did not respond to a request for comment.

The trustee also protested the drag event with a church group days before the larger protest. Perez said his personal feelings about the “early sexualization of children” motivated him to be there to pray.

Before he was elected in May, Perez spoke at school board meetings urging the district to do more to rid libraries of “pornographic books.”

“This is about a war on children to sexualize our children at an early age and glamorize transgenderism,” he said during a Jan. 24 board meeting.

Campaign finance reports show Perez received money from far-right political action committees Texas Alliance for Life and Texans for Educational Freedom. The reports do not disclose the dollar amount Perez received from the PACs.

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