Chaplains—clergy members who typically provide spiritual care—will have the option to apply for volunteer opportunities in Austin ISD, but will not serve in mental health-related roles unless qualified.

During a board meeting Oct. 19, the AISD board of trustees voted to uphold the district’s volunteering policy amid a statewide legal update.

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Under Senate Bill 763, Texas school districts may employ chaplains to perform the duties of school counselors or volunteer in other roles.

Before March 1, Texas school boards are required to take a record vote on how to apply SB 763 in their districts. A record vote means each trustee is required to vote individually on the measure.

AISD will not authorize hiring chaplains for any mental health role except in cases when the individual meets the credentials required for the position. The district already allows any community member to volunteer in schools, and officials did not expand the policy under the new state law.

The board of trustees based the decision on Round Rock ISD’s vote on the law Sept. 21.

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