SB 763 was effective September 1st, and LSSSCA is monitoring the implementation of the legislation.   We are seeing school districts around the state beginning to examine the legislation, review options, develop potential implementation plans, and much more.  A handful of districts have already voted on resolutions in favor of bringing chaplains onto school campuses.  

LSSSCA is tracking district implementation.  Keep up with the districts that have acted by clicking here.


We encourage our members to monitor your respective school board’s meeting schedules and agendas.  If you wish to engage on the issue and/or to provide public comment at a school board meeting, LSSSCA recommends that we continue to remind school board members and the public of the qualifications of our school counselors, and the differences in the qualifications between school counselors and chaplains – they do not line up.  Below are some key points to make as you engage in this discussion:   

    • school counselors have master’s degrees;
    • school counselors are licensed and certified; and school counselors are educators;
    • school counselors are trained in child development and counseling; 
    • school counselors serve as the mental health professional that works with every student on campus; and
    • Chaplains should work alongside school counselors.



LSSSCA’s lobby team, Eric Wright & Associates, summarized the key legislation including appropriation in an 88th Regular Session, End of Session Report.

Read the Report

JUNE 2023

SB 763 and Texas School Counselors

SB 763 was filed during the most recent legislative session.  It included language giving districts permission to hire chaplains for school counselor positions, as filed, it read:

(d)  Notwithstanding Subsections (b) and (c) or any other law, a school district may employ a chaplain instead of a school counselor to perform the duties required of a school counselor under this title. A chaplain employed under this subsection is not required to be certified by the State Board for Educator Certification.

LSSSCA immediately launched an advocacy campaign directed to the members of the Senate Education Committee and the full Senate with the following message:

The Lone Star State School Counselor Association urges you to vote no to SB 763.  If passed, this bill would allow school districts to hire chaplains to fill the role of the school counselor.  School counselors are uniquely qualified and solely eligible to meet the requirements of designing and implementing school counseling programs. They deliver direct and indirect services that support academic, career and social/emotional development and positively affect achievement for all students.  Chaplains who do not possess the academic and professional credentials of a school counselor, even with the best intention, may provide inappropriate responses or interventions to students that could jeopardize students’ development and well-being.

School counselors are qualified to deliver school counseling curriculum to all students that focuses on prevention and early intervention.  They are uniquely trained to identify students who may require more intensive services. These services all contribute to a safe and healthy school climate and would be a better investment of the school safety allotment.  Chaplains or any other individuals without school counselor credentials are not positioned to have an impact on school safety and cannot provide the necessary support for all students.

Thank you for your support for school counseling and for the best possible outcomes for all students.

Many LSSSCA members participated in this campaign.  More than 230 messages were sent to legislators.  As a result of this effort, the bill was amended.  The original language  regarding hiring chaplains in a school counselor role was replaced with the paragraph below: 

A school district or an open-enrollment charter school may employ or accept as a volunteer a chaplain to provide support, services, and programs for students as assigned by the board of trustees of the district or the governing body of the school. A chaplain employed or volunteering under this chapter is not required to be certified by the State Board for Educator Certification.

The entire bill and its activity and amendments can be found here:  https://legiscan.com/TX/bill/SB763/2023

LSSSCA advocacy is ongoing to protect school counseling and students.  You’re encouraged to stay connected to the association to see how you can participate in future advocacy efforts.

APRIL 2023


Thank you for the action you took on April 4 & 5 and doing so on just a moment’s notice! Thank you for every call, email and/or participation in the Call to Action on SB 763 that would allow school districts to hire chaplains in lieu of school counselors. 88(R) SB 763 - Introduced version - Bill Text (texas.gov)

Your voices were heard. During the hearing, Senator Middleton explained SB 763 and provided a committee substitute, which is a revised version of the proposed bill. The language was changed to allow districts to hire chaplains “in addition to” instead of  “in lieu of” school counselors. To listen, please click on the link and fast forward to 3:09: Senate Committee on Education (Part II) - Apr 5th, 2023 (granicus.com).  Review the revised version here:  SB 763 Committee Substitute

The first time a bill is heard in Committee it is left pending - 99% of the time.  Pending means “pending Committee action.”  The next step is for the committee to vote out the bill with the substitute and recommend it for the full Senate.  We will be watching for this vote and when it is scheduled to be heard by the full Senate.

On April 20, 2023 another proposed bill is being heard - HB 3614 - Chaplains as School Counselors.  We are expecting the same outcome as with SB 763 with a committee substitute to mirror Middleton’s bill of not replacing school counselors but gives districts the option to hire chaplains.  We will continue to monitor the hearing and will share the committee substitute for this proposed bill once received. 

Thank you for uniting together against SB 763. As we continue to follow what takes place in our state we will keep you informed. 

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