WOISD takes middle ground on chaplains in school

White Oak ISD’s trustees are taking the middle path on state legislation codifying chaplains in schools.
During their Feb. 12 meeting, the school board followed WOISD Superintendent Dr. William Paul’s recommendation to neither adopt a new policy nor change the school’s existing guidelines, one of multiple options available following last year’s passage of Senate Bill 763.
“After doing research,” Paul told the trustees, “finding out what everybody around us is doing, my recommendation is that we adopt this resolution that basically recommends we don’t really do anything.”
All Texas school districts have until March 1 to take some degree of action on the law. In mid-November, Gladewater ISD trustees officially agreed to utilize chaplains as volunteers, aiming to formalize the district’s current practices (with local pastors and ministers) in compliance with SB 763.
For White Oak ISD to implement last week’s simple resolution, “We don’t have to change a policy we have; we don’t have to adopt a policy,” Paul said. “That keeps our current practice in place.”
According to the resolution, current practice is “allowing for the best personnel to meet the socio-emotional needs of the students of White Oak ISD” which includes (but isn’t limited to) school personnel who already have training and “Any organization which meets the community standard of White Oak and is able to provide mental health support in a time of need.”
There’s another key aspect of the White Oak’s status quo for Paul:
“It allows the parents to have a voice in meeting the needs of their child.”
Notably, Paul told the board last Fall when they first looked into the issue, anyone volunteering on any campus in any capacity is going to be subject to some kind of background check.
With all board members in attendance Feb. 12, the measure passed unanimously.

– By James Draper

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