Hays CISD board of trustees voted against employing chaplains or allowing them to volunteer in the district. The unanimous vote was made during a regular meeting Dec. 11.

The background

Due to the passage of Senate Bill 763 in the 88th Texas Legislature, each school board in the state must vote before March 1 on whether they will adopt a policy authorizing a campus in the district to employ chaplains or allow them to volunteer.

A closer look

Trustee of District 2 Johnny Flores said he believes in the value of religious guidance and instruction, but feels that it is best given in houses of worship.

“I am strongly against the hiring of chaplains in our public schools here in Hays CISD,” Flores said. “I believe it's very important to protect the separation of church and state, as well as to keep our schools and Hays CISD secular.”

HCISD Superintendent Eric Wright said the district will continue to accept people from different religious backgrounds to serve as mentors to students but not take the place of professional school counselors.

“We believe that our school counselors are the best suited to handle all of the support services for our students as far as guidance and counseling because they are trained for such a purpose, and so that's why we don't want to employ chaplains in lieu of that,” Wright said.