Texas Legislature passes bill allowing chaplains in public schools

by | May 10, 2023 | Religion

(RNS) — The Texas Legislature has passed a bill that would allow schools to employ chaplains in addition to school counselors, with Republicans overriding objections by Democrats to send the proposal to the governor’s desk.The bill will permit school districts to hire chaplains who, unlike school counselors, are not required to be certified by the State Board for Educator Certification. A version of the bill already sailed through the state Senate last month, and the Texas House passed an amended version on Tuesday evening (May 9) in a vote that appeared to fall largely along party lines, with 89 voting in favor and 58 opposed. 
Conservative groups such as Texas Values Action have voiced support for the bill, and the National School Chaplain Association, an arm of the Christian group Mission Generation, testified in support during committee meetings last month.
Rocky Malloy, head of the NSCA, argued during his testimony that the bill would increase school safety and not infringe on the religious beliefs of students, saying, “Chaplains operate within an individual’s belief and convictions — they are not working to convert people to religion.”

But Malloy’s organization has suggested otherwise in the past, and critics of the bill argue it could lead to proselytization and erode the separation of church and state.
“I worry that this bill will lead to Christian nationalists infiltrating our public schools and …

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