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EducationNorth Texas

Eagle Mountain-Saginaw ISD plans won’t replace counselors with chaplains

Chaplains will not be allowed to replace counselors in Eagle Mountain-Saginaw ISD, but they may volunteer like other community members, according to a proposed resolution.

Trustees in the northwest Fort Worth school district on Jan. 22 reviewed a proposal that will make clear its position on chaplains. The school board is expected to consider the resolution at its Feb. 26 meeting.

“We would not be hiring them as counselors,” board President Paige Ring said.

Deputy Superintendent Dana Barnes told trustees the resolution will effectively keep the status quo: Mental health professionals who meet state requirements and are licensed will be hired as counselors.

“We also will continue our practice of using individuals, including our wonderful church partners, as volunteers as long as they meet district requirements,” Barnes said.

The Texas Legislature required school districts to decide how they would use chaplains by March 1. Senate Bill 763 went into effect Sept. 1.

Superintendent Jim Chadwell called the process lawmakers created as “odd.” Districts like his aren’t changing anything, yet the Legislature expects school boards to take action, he said.

Parents and experts previously told the Fort Worth Report that the law’s “vague” language was confusing.

Chadwell pointed out that other school districts have taken similar stances. The Fort Worth, Northwest and Keller school districts adopted resolutions mirroring Eagle Mountain-Saginaw’s proposal.

“I don’t see a lot of districts changing their current practice,” Chadwell said.

Jacob Sanchez is an enterprise journalist for the Fort Worth Report. Contact him at [email protected] or via @_jacob_sanchez. At the Fort Worth Report, news decisions are made independently of our board members and financial supporters. Read more about our editorial independence policy here.

This article first appeared on Fort Worth Report and is republished here under a Creative Commons license.

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