Hutto ISD trustees chose during a recent meeting to continue its policy allowing chaplains to act as volunteers outside of their capacity as a religious representative. This comes as a new state law allowing Texas schools to hire chaplains as counselors went into effect last year.

What you need to know

By voting at the Feb. 22 meeting, the HISD board of trustees are in compliance with Senate Bill 763, which went into effect Sept. 1. District staff clarified that the recommendation to allow chaplains to volunteer in the district but not be employed as counselors solely based on their status as such does not bar them from working for the district in other capacities if they meet all requirements and are determined to be the best fit for the position.

The backstory

Under SB 763, school districts are allowed to employ chaplains to perform the duties of school counselors. Texas school boards must take action regarding the law in a record vote, meaning each trustee is required to vote individually on the measure. SB 763 is one of several laws that went into effect Sept. 1 regarding schools.

What are the options?

Per the bill, Texas school districts have the option to select from three courses of action:
  • Hire chaplains to perform the duties of a school counselor
  • Accept chaplains as volunteers
  • Reject any use of chaplains