Texas Freedom Network Congratulates Organized Community Members in Katy ISD as District Rejects Policy Hiring Unqualified Chaplains

February 26, 2024

CONTACT: Emily Witt, [email protected]

HOUSTON — The Katy 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​:

“Yet again, we’ve proven that the religious right does not represent every Texan. We appreciate the trustees at Katy ISD for protecting the religious freedom of students and families by voting against the chaplain policy. Parents and community members across the state have passionately rejected placing chaplains who lack the qualifications to counsel children in our public schools, and TFN is proud to have organized alongside them.

“When our communities organize, they cannot be stopped. We know our worth, and we know what our kids deserve. As the Texas government continues using children as pawns for political gain, we at TFN will never stop advocating for LGBTQIA+ students and those weighing reproductive health decisions who desperately need the support of licensed, qualified counselors in Texas public schools.”