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State Laws - North Dakota

Released Time Laws and Guidelines
State of North Dakota

STATUTES: North Dakota Century Code

North Dakota compulsory attendance law ( 15 -24. 1 -0 1) requires that all children, ages 7-15 (inclusive), must attend public school. A child, however, will be excused if that child is in attendance "for the same length of time as a parochial or private school approved by the superintendent of public instruction" (15-34.2-17) expressly allows local school boards to release students for religious instruction. A-n elementary or high school student's parents must request permission from the school board to released their child for religious instruction.

A student may be released for a period not to exceed one hour per week "at times as prescribed by the school board after consultation with the parents of the student."

EDUCATION REGULATIONS: (Policy)

Each individual local school board will establish procedures for students to be released for religious instruction subject to section 15-34.2-17.

CASES: - None

ATTORNEY GENERAL OPINIONS: - None


FCRTM RECOMMENDATIONS:

The first step is to gather as much information as you can about South Dakota's Released Time statute, what classes, if any, are being conducted, and how a Released Time program may address state educational objectives (e.g. self-esteem, values education). Determine who will make the decision whether to allow a program and make an appointment to see that person. If the principal refers you to the school board, you would be wise to meet individually with school board members before presenting the concept at a school board meeting.

Keep in mind that school officials are not required to approve a program. However, with a carefully crafted approach and with statutory recognition, you should expect success in gaining approval for the program.


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