The Conroe ISD board of trustees approved a policy change for sex education courses Jan. 16 during a board meeting and also voted against a policy to allow volunteer chaplains in school.

Two-minute impact

The Student Health Advisory Council asked the board to consider changing its current policy from an "opt-out" to an "opt-in" policy for the district's required human sexuality course.

Hedith Sauceda-Upshaw, assistant superintendent for teaching and learning, said the new board policy will include parents receiving a letter 14 days before the course begins and responding with a "yes" for the student to participate. CISD started offering the opt-in option in 2021-22 school year.

In prior years, she said the policy required parents to respond with a "no" if they didn't want the student to participate. If a parent does not respond to the letter, the student will not be allowed to participate in the course, she said.
  • The board unanimously approved the permanent change to the policy Jan. 16.
  • The current statute expires Aug. 1.
Also on the agenda

The CISD board also voted on an item Jan. 16 regarding volunteer chaplains.

A chaplain, according to, is a person who leads nondenominational religious services and provides spiritual support to those who are unable to attend organized religious services. A chaplain can work in a hospital, prison or school.

During the 88th Texas legislative session, Senate Bill 763 was passed requiring school districts to take a record vote on whether a district will adopt a policy that will allow chaplains to either volunteer or be hired at school campuses or not.

The board voted 4-3 against implementing any form of the policy on CISD campuses.

What they are saying

Trustee Datren Williams voted against the policy.

"Anytime that we are allowing folks that we are comfortable with from our spiritual background standpoint to come in to a situation where it is clearly separation of church and state, I think that's dangerous," he said.

Trustee Stacey Chase also voted against the use of volunteers chaplains in school.

"The idea that unlicensed, uncertified chaplains in schools counseling my child, my children on mental health is absolutely terrifying for me," she said.

Trustee Tiffany Baumann Nelson voted for the policy.

"My son plays football, and there is a chaplain that comes to school during the school day and prays with students," she said. "He's a beloved member of our community, and he's been serving in that role for the last 30-plus years."