More than 100 chaplains in Texas have signed a letter urging local school boards to vote against replacing school counsellors with religious chaplains in public schools.
The letter, which was issued by the Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty (BJC), the Interfaith Alliance and Texas Impact, says efforts to enlist religious chaplains in public classrooms - in place of counsellors - are harmful to students and families.
A bill allowing public schools to hire school chaplains to do the work of school counsellors is set to become law in the Republican state of Texas. Some opponents have described it as a ‘Trojan-horse’ to evangelise children.
The chaplains are concerned that there is no requirement for a school chaplain to be certified by the state board as an educator or undergo any training. That contrasts the extensive training required for healthcare and military chaplains.
The BJC’s executive director, Amanda Tyler, said: “Public schools are not the place for religious instruction – that is best left to houses of worship, religious institutions and families. Christian nationalism conflates religious and political authority, and our public schools should not be endorsing religion – they should continue to leave that up to the students and their families. School districts should reject this misguided effort to inject more religion and division in our schools.”