UNITED STATES NEWS

Texas lawmakers approve allowing public schools to hire chaplains to counsel students

May 25, 2023, 10:17 AM

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Texas would allow public schools to use campus safety money to hire chaplains to counsel students under a bill approved this week by state lawmakers and sent to Republican Gov. Greg Abbott.

The measure approved on Wednesday, the one-year anniversary of the school shooting in Uvalde that killed 19 students and two teachers, comes amid a push by the Republican-majority Legislature to open the door for more religion in public schools.

Supporters of the bill say the chaplains can provide critical counseling to help prevent school shootings by addressing student mental health, and address other problems such as drug use.

Local school boards and open-enrollment charter schools would have six months to decide whether to allow chaplains, who could be employees or volunteers.

Critics say the measure violates student religious freedom and allows an entryway for campus evangelizing while exposing students to what may be unconventional or biased counseling methods when dealing with issues such as sexuality, sexual behavior or suicidal thoughts.

“This bill violates the religious freedom of all faiths and Texans of non-faith,” said Carisa Lopez, political director for the progressive Texas Freedom Network. “We will never stop fighting the religious right’s agenda to inject their personal beliefs into our schools.”

Local school districts would be allowed to decide whether to allow chaplains, who could be employees or volunteers. The bill would not require chaplains to be trained in student counseling or certified by the state Board of Education, but the author of the measure has said school districts would be allowed to set their own rules.

The bill comes amid a broader push nationally among some conservatives to insert religion into public life, notably public schools, after last year’s U.S Supreme Court ruling in favor of a high school football coach who led prayers with his players in Washington state.

A separate measure that would have required public schools to post the Ten Commandments in every classroom expired without a final vote. The legislative session ends Monday.

United States News

Associated Press

New Jersey house explosion hospitalizes 5 people, police say

WEST MILFORD, N.J. (AP) — Five people were transported to hospitals after an explosion at a New Jersey home on Friday night, police said. The house in West Milford was heavily damaged by the explosion around 9 p.m., the West Milford Police Department said in a statement. A sixth person at the scene refused additional […]

2 hours ago

Associated Press

Tropical Storm Ophelia close to landfall on the North Carolina coast, weather agency says

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — Tropical Storm Ophelia was nearing landfall on the North Carolina coast early Saturday with the potential for damaging winds and dangerous surges of water, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said. Ophelia was about 25 miles (45 kilometers) southwest of Cape Lookout and about 70 miles (110 kilometers) east-northeast of Cape Fear. […]

6 hours ago

This Aug. 17, 2021 photo shows Quagga mussels cover the engine of a Bell P-39 Airacobra military pl...

Associated Press

Historians race to find Great Lakes shipwrecks before quagga mussels destroy the sites

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — The Great Lakes’ frigid fresh water used to keep shipwrecks so well preserved that divers could see dishes in the cupboards. Downed planes that spent decades underwater were left so pristine they could practically fly again when archaeologists finally discovered them. Now, an invasive mussel is destroying shipwrecks deep in the […]

7 hours ago

This image provided by Tulane University shows Nick Spitzer, host of the weekly public radio music ...

Associated Press

Louisiana folklorist and Mississippi blues musician among 2023 National Heritage Fellows

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Louisiana folklorist Nick Spitzer and Mississippi blues musician R.L. Boyce are among nine 2023 National Heritage Fellows set to be celebrated later this month by the National Endowment for the Arts, one of the nation’s highest honors in the folk and traditional arts. Spitzer and Boyce are scheduled to accept the […]

7 hours ago

Republican presidential candidates, from left, former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson, former New Jers...

Associated Press

3rd Republican presidential debate is set for Nov. 8 in Miami, with the strictest qualifications yet

The third Republican presidential debate will be held in Miami on Nov. 8, a day after several states hold off-year elections.

9 hours ago

During the equinox, the Earth’s axis and its orbit line up so that both hemispheres get an equal ...

Associated Press

The fall equinox is here. What does that mean?

The equinox arrives on Saturday, marking the start of the fall season for the Northern Hemisphere. But what does that actually mean?

10 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Home moving relocation in Arizona 2023...

BMS Moving

Tips for making your move in Arizona easier

If you're moving to a new home in Arizona, use this to-do list to alleviate some stress and ensure a smoother transition to your new home.

...

Ability360

At Ability360, every day is Independence Day

With 100 different programs and services, more than 1,500 non-medically based home care staff, a world-renowned Sports & Fitness Center and over 15,000 people with disabilities served annually, across all ages and demographics, Ability360 is a nationwide leader in the disability community.

...

DAY & NIGHT AIR CONDITIONING, HEATING AND PLUMBING

Here are the biggest tips to keep your AC bill low this summer

PHOENIX — In Arizona during the summer, having a working air conditioning unit is not just a pleasure, but a necessity. No one wants to walk from their sweltering car just to continue to be hot in their home. As the triple digits hit around the Valley and are here to stay, your AC bill […]

Texas lawmakers approve allowing public schools to hire chaplains to counsel students