Northwest school board allows chaplains to volunteer. Here’s what they can and can’t dodfwnewsa | November 15, 2023 | 1 | Dallas News , Fort Worth , Fort Worth News
Chaplains will be allowed to volunteer at Northwest ISD.
The decision came after the school board unanimously voted to allow chaplains to serve as volunteers pursuant to existing policy regarding volunteers.
Senate Bill 763 requires school boards to vote, on or before March 1, 2024, whether they will adopt a policy allowing chaplains to serve as volunteers in schools. The bill went into effect Sept. 1, after Gov. Greg Abbott signed it into law.
Parents and experts previously told the Fort Worth Report they were confused by the bill’s “vague” language.”
The vote did not relate to counseling or spiritual services, said Anthony Tosie, executive director of communications at Northwest ISD. The resolution merely affirms that chaplains have the same right to volunteer as any non-chaplain within the school district.
“We have highly qualified, credentialed counselors, and our community has expressed approval of the work they do,” Tosie said in an email.
Northwest ISD’s volunteer system
Northwest ISD has over 9,000 registered volunteers this year to support in multiple areas, from providing help to students during holiday season to classroom activities.
School districts or open-enrollment charter schools may employ or accept chaplains as volunteers to provide support, services and programs for students as assigned by the board of trustees, according to the Texas Education Code.
All volunteers at the district undergo background checks, and any individual who passes them can volunteer if they abide by Northwest ISD’s guidelines, Tosie said.
“The updated Texas law required a board vote on the matter for chaplains, however,” he said.
Dang Le is a reporting fellow for the Fort Worth Report. Contact him at email@example.com or via Twitter. 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.