VI-36: Released Time for Religious Instruction
North Sanpete School District
Board Policy with Guidelines
|Policy Number: VI-36
Effective Date: 12/16/1982
Subject: Released Time for Religious Instruction
Section 4 of Article I of the Constitution of the State of Utah reads:
The rights of conscience shall never be infringed. The State shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; There shall be no union of Church and State, nor shall any Church dominate the State or interfere with its functions. No public money or property shall be appropriated for or applied to any religious worship, exercise or instruction, or for the support of any ecclesiastical establishment.
The North Sanpete Board of Education believes that it is clear (based on the above and other references) that aid to the church by the state in any manner is in violation of the intent of the Constitution. The Board is also of the opinion that in the conduct of the public school program as it relates to the practice of releasing students from school for the purpose of attending classes in religious education that certain practices should be observed to avoid the use of public funds or property for religious instruction and also to avoid an undesirable and unconstitutional commingling of the activities of church and state.
- Under no condition should religious education classes (released time classes) be permitted to be held in school buildings or on school property.
- No student should be permitted to leave the school grounds during the school day to attend released-time classes, except upon the written request of the parent or guardian. Such written request shall be gathered by the organization sponsoring the released-time instruction and turned over to the principal of the school from which the student is to be released. Said written request may be on forms provided by the religious group and will become a part of the permanent record of the student.
- No student shall be excused from school, even upon the written request of the parent, at a time when he should be in attendance at a regular class of the school for which credit is normally required for graduation or to complete the required course of study.
- When a student is given permission, upon written request of the parent, to leave the school grounds to attend a class in religious education, the school will not keep records of his or her attendance at such classes or use the school personnel or organization to regulate such attendance except as such records shall be deemed necessary by the school principal to efficiently and effectively operate the program of the school.
- Records of attendance at "released time" classes, grade marks, or other data will not be included in the school report to parents. All grade marks given to students for released time classes should be given directly to the student not through the public schools (exception see #6).
- Credits for work taken in released time classes should be recognized by public schools only when an official transcript of credits from the institution conducting such classes, and upon evaluation on the basis that similar credits from established private school are evaluated. As a convenience to the schools, institutions conducting released time classes will submit, on form provided by the school, final grades at the end of the second semester-fourth term as scheduled and requested by the principal. Such final grade will be on the final progress report to the parents.
- Teachers in released time classes are not considered members of school faculties and will not be required to participate as faculty members in any school function.
- Schedules of classes for secondary schools, school catalogs, or registration forms of the school will not include schedules of released time classes. Registration for released time classes will occur off the premises of the public school, on forms and supplies furnished by the institution offering the classes, and by personnel employed or engaged by that institution. As registration packets are prepared by the school, released time information regarding schedules, registration instructions, etc. prepared by the institution offering the released time classes may be added to the student packets by those employed or engaged by said institution.
- High school yearbooks shall not include pictures, reports or any other record of functions or personnel of released time classes.
- School newspapers may print items of news related to the released time instruction or other information that is a convenience to the public school in the operation of its program.
- No school equipment or personnel should be used in any manner to assist in the registration for or conduct of released time classes. Connection of bells, intercoms, telephones, or other devices made between public school buildings and private schools offering religious instruction are done as a direct convenience to the public school in operation of its own program.
- Public school administrators are not to request teachers of released time classes or administrators of institutions offering such classes to exercise functions or assume responsibilities for the public school program, which would result in a commingling of the activities of the two institutions.
- Institutions offering religious instruction should be regarded as private schools completely separate and apart from the public schools. Those relationships which would legitimately be exercised between the public schools and any private school would be considered an appropriate relationship with these institutions, so long as public property or public funds, or other public resources are not used to aid such institutions.