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Tags: texas | chaplains | bill | legislation | schools

Texas Poised to Allow Chaplains in Public Schools

By    |   Thursday, 11 May 2023 01:41 PM EDT

The Texas Legislature this week passed a bill that would allow public schools to hire chaplains as a mental health resource, Religion News Service reports.

Texas House Bill 3614, introduced by GOP state Rep. Cole Hefner, would grant schools the ability to "employ or accept as volunteers a chaplain to provide support, services, and programs for students as assigned by the board of trustees of the district or the governing body of the school."

The Texas House passed the bill 89-58, while the state Senate previously passed a version of the legislation last month.

The bill was praised by conservative groups like Texas Values Action, but Democrats have criticized the move. Democrat state Rep. James Talarico told Religion News Service: "I worry that this bill will lead to Christian nationalists infiltrating our public schools and indoctrinating our students."

Talarico, a Presbyterian seminarian, added: "I see this as part of a troubling trend across the country of Christian nationalists attempting to take over our democracy and attempting to take over my religion — both of which I find deeply offensive."

Hefner told Religion News Service that chaplains can be of any faith, and said that he did not want anyone "forcing their religion" on anyone else.

"This is just to help supplement and complement our counselors in doing the job that [are] working really hard," he said.

However, Imelda Mejia of the Texas Freedom Network, a religious-liberties organization, noted that since 2013, the state has seen multiple bills aimed at hiring additional counselors and other forms of mental health support that have failed to gain traction in the legislature.

"You can see where their desires lay, and I don't think it was giving our students what they needed," she said.

Theodore Bunker

Theodore Bunker, a Newsmax writer, has more than a decade covering news, media, and politics.

© 2024 Newsmax. All rights reserved.


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The Texas Legislature this week passed a bill that would allow public schools to hire chaplains as a mental health resource, Religion News Service reports.
texas, chaplains, bill, legislation, schools
289
2023-41-11
Thursday, 11 May 2023 01:41 PM
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