Chaplains in public schools? Florida bill would give options for religious counselors

February 11, 2024

A Florida bill that would allow chaplains to provide counseling services to public school students is gaining traction — and opposition — in the Legislature. The bill (SB 1044) would give schools districts and charter schools an option to use volunteer chaplains to provide counseling and other services to students. While supporters say the bill puts no parameters on the religious denomination of a chaplain, a footnote in the bill analysis references a Texas-based Christian chaplain ministry when defining school chaplains. The bill continues a push by some Republican politicians to soften long-time policies sharply limiting religious activities or teaching in public schools. Texas also adopted a school chaplain bill last year that is similar to the one Florida lawmakers are pondering.