Eagle Mountain-Saginaw ISD school board welcomes chaplains as volunteers, not counselor replacements

dfwnewsa | February 27, 2024 | 0 | Fort Worth , Fort Worth News

Eagle Mountain-Saginaw ISD school board welcomes chaplains as volunteers, not counselor replacements

Eagle Mountain-Saginaw ISD school board members Ron Franklin, left, Tim Daughtrey and Steven Newcom and Superintendent Jim Chadwell listen to Deputy Superintendent Dana Barnes speak during a meeting on Jan. 22, 2024, in Fort Worth. (Jacob Sanchez | Fort Worth Report)
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Chaplains will not replace counselors in Eagle Mountain-Saginaw ISD, but they will still be welcomed to volunteer like other community members.

The school board Feb. 26 approved a resolution outlining the district’s position and policies on chaplains. The resolution was approved as part of the consent agenda, a list of routine items that can be approved in one vote.

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The Texas Legislature required school districts to decide how they would use chaplains by March 1.

Eagle Mountain-Saginaw ISD joins a number of Tarrant County school districts that have adopted similar stances. They include the Fort Worth, Northwest and Keller school districts.

“I don’t see a lot of districts changing their current practice,” Eagle Mountain-Saginaw ISD Superintendent Jim Chadwell said in January.

Eagle Mountain-Saginaw ISD trustees reviewed the policy in January.

Deputy Superintendent Dana Barnes told the school board the resolution was keeping the status quo. Mental health professionals who meet state requirements and are licensed will be hired as counselors. Community members, including chaplains, may volunteer as long as they meet district requirements, she said.

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

Jacob Sanchez is an enterprise journalist for the Fort Worth Report. Contact him at jacob.sanchez@fortworthreport.org or @_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.

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