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Tuesday, April 16, 2024 at 9:47 PM
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Trustees decline chaplain counselors

HUNTER DWORACZYK [email protected]

Taylor Independent School District will not be participating in a state bill passed at the recent Texas Legislative session.

Senate Bill 763 allows public schools to employ or accept volunteer chaplains to provide support, services and programs to students.

The district’s school board unanimously voted a resolution that states Taylor ISD does not permit a district campus to use chaplains to perform the role of counselors during its Jan. 22 meeting. Trustees voted for the resolution after it was recommended by district staff.

“Our rationale for that recommendation is that we currently do have a counselor to student staffing ratio and model that does allow our counselors that are trained in the world of education to address the needs of students both socially, emotionally and mentally,” said Clarissa Rodriguez, assistant superintendent of teaching and learning.

SB 763 was passed in the Texas House of Representatives and Senate primarily with Republican support. Supporters of the bill approved the bill as a way of giving school districts tools to combat a perceived counselor shortage.

Taylor Independent School District trustees unanimously approved a resolution that says the district will not allow its schools to employ chaplains as counselors during the Jan. 22 school board meeting. Photo by Hunter Dworaczyk

Texas requires one counselor for every 500 elementary students in state public schools.

The law does not require employed chaplains to be certified by the State Board for Educator Certification.

“We actually have a few counselors in the district who are licensed professional counselors,” Rodriguez said. “So, we feel very confident that we are staffed well enough to support the needs of our students in that regard.”

SB 763 went into effect Sept. 1, 2023 with school boards having six months to opt in or out.


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