Pearland ISD will not be allowed to employ chaplains as school counselors after the district’s board of trustees approved a resolution at its Feb. 13 meeting.

What’s happening?

Recently, the 88th Texas Legislature passed Senate Bill 763, which requires school boards to vote before March 1 to adopt a policy allowing chaplains to either volunteer or be hired by the district, according to district agenda documents.

A chaplain is a person who conducts religious exercises, such as saying a prayer prior to a meeting, for entities or events that are not explicitly religious.

PISD’s resolution is to continue to allow chaplains to visit or become volunteers, as long as they adhere to the volunteer policies stated on the district’s website. While chaplains are allowed to volunteer, they will not be allowed to volunteer to fulfill the duties of a school counselor, according to district documents.

What they said

Superintendent Larry Berger wanted to make clear that all are allowed to volunteer as watchdogs or with the Parent Teacher Association, or PTA, but chaplains are not allowed to volunteer with the purpose of spreading religious beliefs, Berger said.

“I do not want to alienate any person that wants to give back to the kids in the right way, but I want to make sure that we protect our kids at all times from the things that they need to be protected from,” Berger said.