The Turlock Unified School District and Turlock Chaplaincy Inc. (TCI) have formed a unique pilot partnership to provide support for several elementary campuses including Crowell, Cunningham and Wakefield.
Volunteer chaplains are needed for the program and would have a daily presence at the three schools, with the goal of providing qualified and critical incident response to all individuals involved in a crisis situation.
Currently TCI provides counseling services to law enforcement and emergency response personnel in the City of Turlock.
TUSD Assistant Superintendent of Educational Services Dana Trevethan said the goal is to expand the pilot program to all schools.
Trevethan said Crowell, Cunningham, and Wakefield were selected as the pilot schools because they represent the highest population of eligible students including foster youth, socioeconomically disadvantaged youth, and English language learners.
TUSD middle schools and high schools have full-time counselors and that the chaplains would serve largely on the K-6 school campuses should the program be expanded throughout TUSD, Trevethan further explained.
Trevethan acknowledged that the issue of the separation of church and state was not largely considered when adopting the partnership.
“In the past TUSD has utilized volunteer chaplains for school support in crisis situations such as a death and we’ve never encountered any problems with the issue of separation of church and state,” Trevethan said.
TCI is looking for volunteer chaplains to help with the program. Volunteers do not necessarily have to be ordained. For more information on how to volunteer contact Tom Sperry, coordinator of the program, at firstname.lastname@example.org.