Released Time Laws and Guidelines
State of Vermont
||STATUTES: VERMONT STATUTES ANNOTATED TITLE 16
Vermont compulsory attendance law (§ 1 12 1) requires that all children, ages 7-25 (inclusive), must attend "an approved public school or an approved or reporting private school for the full number of days which school is held."
According to section 1051, it is the policy of the State of Vermont to cooperate with religious groups by adjusting the schedule of public schools to provide periodic Release Time for religious instruction, "provided that such adjustments do not interfere with the conduct of secular educational programs in the schools." The board of directors of each school district "shall make available periodic Released Time" (section 1053) if requested by a religious group (an association of persons for religious purposes). Periodic Released Time religious education courses will also be included in public school catalogs (section 1053).
Periodic Released Time education courses, however, must comply with several conditions:
|1. Such a religious course may not be conducted on public school property [§1045 (a)].|
2. Such a religious course may not interfere with a student's graduation requirements [§ 1054 (b)].
3. No administrator or public school teacher may direct a student to take or not to take a Released Time course [§1054 (c)].
4. No student may be released for religious instruction unless he obtains written permission from his parent and the sponsoring religious group (§1055).
5. All costs involved in the religious instruction must be home by the sponsoring religious group [§1055 (2) (b)].
6. Student may be released at least once a week [§1052 (a) (1)].
EDUCATION REGULATIONS (Policy):
The Released Time program is used primarily in the Burlington school district, where such programs have existed for many years. The principal of each school is responsible for administering the program.
Transportation for Released Time is often handled by the churches, which send vans to pick up the children (Vermont Department of Education, Burlington, Phone 802-828-3135).
ATTORNEY GENERAL OPINIONS:
The first step is to gather as much information as you can about Vermont'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.
With a carefully crafted approach and with statutory recognition, you should expect success in gaining approval for the program.
Released Time organizations in the state of Vermont
Information provided by:
The Fellowship of Christian Released Time Ministries
5722 Lime Ave. ˜ Long Beach, CA 90805 ˜ (562) 428-7733
1-800-360-7943 Email Us