After FFRF contacted a Texas school district over the unconstitutional use of a Christian chaplain as a “mental health interventionist,” the chaplain was placed on leave before resigning.
It was reported to FFRF by multiple members of the Trinity Independent School District that the chaplain had been spreading his personal religious beliefs to students. He reportedly told students who were depressed or suicidal that it was because they do not have a good relationship with God. It was also reported that he told LGBT students that they were going to hell. In addition to these remarks, the chaplain reportedly distributed Christian literature to students that presented the “absolute truth” about issues that young people are confronted with, including “sexual purity,” “evolution,” “abortion,” and “homosexuality.”
“The district cannot employ an official chaplain, and it must make certain that none of its employees are unlawfully and inappropriately indoctrinating students in religious matters by handing out religious materials or promoting their personal religious beliefs,” FFRF Staff Attorney Christopher Line wrote to Superintendent John Kaufman. “We ask that the district immediately investigate this situation and ensure that [the chaplain] either fully complies with the Establishment Clause and stops violating the rights of students and their parents, or is removed from his position within the district.”
A response from Kaufman confirmed that the chaplain is no longer employed by the district. “[The chaplain] was placed on administrative leave effective Jan. 14 and remained on administrative leave until his resignation from the district on July 28,” Kaufman wrote.