New Bill Allows Chaplains In Texas Public Schools Starting Fall

– House on Monday, allowing school districts to employ chaplains. The State Board for Educator Certification does not require certification for chaplains, although school counselors in the state are expected to have master’s degrees and two years of classroom teaching experience.

To meet the Department of Defense chaplain standards, chaplains must, nevertheless, pass a background investigation, receive approval from a religious institution, and complete some training.

A chaplain is a member of the clergy with proper credentials who provides spiritual support most frequently in public places other than churches. Students, faculty, and staff may get counseling and direction from a school chaplain. Depending on the school, a chaplain might even conduct a prayer, a service, or even teach a class.

The Texas chaplain law was passed in the midst of a heated national discussion about the teaching of religion in public schools. Some types of religious expression are rather widespread in public schools, according to a 2019 Pew Research Center survey. Low student test scoresThe nation’s eighth graders score lower in US history and civics. What authorities claim is at fault. A crucial period for American educationAccording to the Biden administration, the McCarty budget would eliminate 60,000 teachers and “undermine education.”

The Texas Chaplain School Measure Prompted Party-Line Concerns

According to the Religion News Service, many Texas Republican lawmakers strongly supported the chaplain in schools bill while Democrats objected and wanted it sent to GOP Gov. Greg Abbott. 89 members voted in favor, while 58 members against it, resulting in a party-line outcome.

New Bill Allows Chaplains In Texas Public Schools Starting Fall

On Tuesday, House members approved an amended version of the bill, which forbids registered s*x offenders from serving as chaplains, establishes background checks, and calls for those in the position to hold endorsement from a group recognized by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, the Federal Bureau of Prisons, or the United States Department of Defense.

It would be up to each individual school district to decide whether to hire chaplains, according to Republican Texas State Representative Cole Hefner, who sponsored the bill. According to Hefner, local school boards may demand a master’s degree and post-graduate study, according to Spectrum News.

“I want to make sure that we’re making it clear – that everybody knows – that schools may choose to do this or not, and that they can put whatever rules and regulations in place that they see fit,” said Hefner, responding to a question from his Democratic counterpart, Rep. James Talarico, a former school teacher. “I think, just to be blunt with you, we can trust the school boards to do that,” Hefner added.

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Talarico said he has his doubts about the new bill.

“I worry that this bill will lead to Christian nationalists infiltrating our public schools and indoctrinating our students,” Talarico told Religion News Service on Tuesday.

Texas Public Schools May Debate Chaplains

 NewsNation reported The two lawmakers engaged in a very heated discussion this week. Concerned about endorsing one religion, several state politicians wanted the bill to require parental agreement and provide children the choice of asking for a chaplain of a particular denomination.

“I think we need to give our school districts every tool that we can in the toolbox with all that we’ve been experiencing with mental health issues and catastrophes and crises,” Hefner said.

“You are a champion for parental rights so I’m just curious why parental consent before a student can meet with a chaplain is not acceptable to you in this legislation,” Talarico asked. “Well, we currently do not require parental consent to meet with school counselors,” Hefner said.

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