Galveston ISD Rejects Policy Hiring Unqualified Chaplains, Texas Freedom Network Congratulates Organized Community Members

February 21, 2024

CONTACT: Imelda Mejia, [email protected]

HOUSTON — The Galveston ISD Board of Trustees tonight rejected creating a new policy under SB 763 allowing chaplains who are unqualified to act as school counselors to be employed or accepted as volunteers to serve as “mental health personnel and support” in the district’s public schools.

SB  763, which went into effect in September 2023, requires every school district in the state to take a vote on whether or not to employ chaplains or accept them as volunteers in their school district by March 1, 2024. 

Under the law, chaplains employed or allowed to volunteer are not required to hold the same certifications or credentials as licensed school counselors. The law also does not require chaplains to disregard their religious beliefs while serving students in Texas public schools.

Texas Freedom Network Organizing Director Seneca Savoie (he/him) issued the following response​:

“Galveston ISD has now joined other Houston-area districts in upholding the religious freedom of their students and families by rejecting this policy. We applaud the trustees for their decision and recognize that this victory wouldn’t have been possible without the passionate organizing of parents and community members.

“Our people power cannot be denied, and we will never stop advocating for Texas kids’ access to licensed counselors who are trained to meet the needs of all students without religious bias, including LGBTQIA+ students and those weighing reproductive health decisions. The religious right does not represent all Texans. We encourage community members to keep showing up, from board meetings to the ballot box.”