Chaplains, or clergy members, may continue to volunteer in Lake Travis ISD but will not be allowed to serve as school counselors.

Two-minute impact

The board of trustees voted to continue allowing chaplains to serve as volunteers in the district at a Nov. 15 meeting. The decision comes in response to a new state law requiring districts to vote on whether to employ or accept chaplains as volunteers by March. Senate Bill 763 allows chaplains to work in roles similar to school counselors, and provide mental and behavioral health services.

LTISD’s resolution continued the district’s volunteer policy, which allows all individuals who pass a background check to volunteer, including chaplains, said Marco Alvarado, the LTISD executive director of communications and community relations. Chaplains will receive no special privileges to provide spiritual or counseling services as volunteers, said Allyson Collins, the district’s general counsel.

Like all volunteers, chaplains may continue to work in a school’s front office, support teachers in the classroom and help with special events such as field trips among, other activities, Alvarado said.

“We accept all volunteers from our community that are willing to serve and meet our requirements and follow our processes, whether those volunteers be community members, business people or have a background as chaplains or clergy,” Collins said.

In their own words

“The discussion around this law at the time was that there was a shortage of school counselors and that chaplains could fill in,” Place 2 board member Lauren White said. “I just want to make it clear to our community that we’re not replacing any counselors and that we’re not allowing volunteers to serve in a counseling role.”