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4520 - Released Time Classes

 Release Time Learning Washington County School District - Adopted 8-79

1. Purpose:

The practice of schools to release students during the school day in order that they may receive religious instruction had its beginning in 1914. The practice is not confined to any one religion. There is a necessity of separating the institutions involved in released time, i.e., the public school system and the particular church providing religious instruction under the released-time concept. The practice of awarding high school credit for Bible history and literature is not permitted.

2. Policy:

2.1. Under no condition should religious education classes (released-time classes) be permitted to be held in school buildings or on school property.

2.2. 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 by the parent should become a part of the permanent record of the student.

2.3. No student should 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.

2.4. Teachers in released-time classes should not be considered members of high school faculties or asked to participate as faculty members in any school function.

2.5. No school equipment or personnel should be used in any manner to assist in the registration for or conduct released-time classes. No connection of bells, telephones, or other devices should be made between public school buildings and private schools offering religious instruction except as a direct convenience to the public school in the operation of its own program. When any connection of devices is permitted, the pro rata costs should be borne by the respective institutions.

3. Procedure:

3.1. 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 should not keep records of his/her attendance at such classes or use the school personnel or organization to regulate such attendance. 

3.2. Records of attendance at "released-time" classes, grade marks, or other data should 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.)

3.3. Schedules of classes for secondary schools, school catalogs, or registration forms of the school should not include schedules of released- time classes. Registration for released-time classes should occur off the premises of the public school, on forms and supplies furnished by the institution offering the classes, and by personnel employed by that institution.

3.4. No school publication should include pictures, reports, or records of functions or personnel of released-time classes.

3.5. Public school administrators should not 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.

3.6. 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.

4. Request For Release From School Attendance (Approved 8-79)

4.1. Students and their parents/guardians who believe the student is not having a successful educational experience, and sincerely believe the student would be benefited more by not attending school, may request to be released from school attendance. Every possible effort should be made by the student, parents/guardians and school before this step is taken. 

4.2. Those requesting release from school attendance, must fill out the official school District "Request for Release From School Attendance" form. The form must be completed with the necessary information and signatures being provided by the student, parents/guardians, counselor and principal. The principal should then submit the form to the Superintendent.

4.3. The Superintendent will arrange for a hearing for the student and parents/guardians before the Board of Education, with the school principal or counselor involved requested to attend the hearing. After the hearing is held, the Board of Education will render a decision, with the Superintendent notifying the parties involved of the board's decision.

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