State of

Released Time Laws and Guidelines for the state of California


California compulsory attendance law  requires that children, ages 6-15 (inclusive), must attend public school unless they attend private school or receive instruction from a private tutor.

The California code explicitly permits released time programs in. Students, with the written consent of their parents, may be excused from school in order to participate in religious exercises or to receive moral and religious instruction at places away from school property. Such religious instruction will be considered supplementary to the instruction 'm manners and morals required elsewhere in the code.

Such absence for "released time" will not be considered an absence in computing average daily attendance as long as the following four requirements are met:

1) The governing School Board of the child's school district, in its discretion, must first adopt a resolution allowing released time for religious instruction.

2) The Board will adopt regulations governing the attendance of students at such religious instructions and the reporting thereof.

3) Each student excused must attend school at least the minimum school day for his grade.

4) No student will be excused from school for religious instruction on more than four days per school month.

Released time programs are widely accepted and practiced in California.


Regulations are different in each local school district.

CASES: Gordon v. Board of Education of the City of Los Angeles, 178 p. 2d 488 (1947).

In the Gordon case, the 2nd District Court of Appeals (California) upheld the statute providing that students with written consent of their parents may be excused from schools to participate in religious exercises or to receive religious instruction. The court ruled that the statute does not violate the provision of the California State Constitution guaranteeing free exercise and the enjoyment of religious worship. They also concluded that the released time program does not violate the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution that forbids Congress to make any law respecting the establishment of religion.

In a concurring opinion, Justice White declared, Either by express statutory provisions, Court decisions, rulings of the State Attorneys General, or opinions of State Boards of Education, forty States authorize the release of public school pupils for weekly religious education classes. And it is noteworthy that no Appellate Court of any State has held such programs unconstitutional (Gordon at 497) emphasis supplied.

The majority also found that in the operation of the released-time plan in Los Angeles, there is no appropriation of public money in support of any sect or denomination and no teaching of sectarianism in the school system in violation of section 8 of Article IX of the California Constitution.

The Gordon case has established precedent in the State of California, upholding the Constitutionality of released-time and supporting California's released time statute.


64 OPS. Atty. Gen. 346 April 28, 1981

This opinion has slightly conditioned the operation of released time programs in California. The Attorney General believes that parents and students do not have a constitutional right to engage in released-time education programs unless attendance at school interferes with the free exercise of religion by unreasonably denying them the opportunity for religious education. In order to accommodate parents and students, therefore, a school district may take reasonable, necessary, administrative steps to inform parents of the existence of released time in the district and to obtain the parents' c4nsent for students to participate in the programs

Released Time organizations in the state of California

Box 41300, Pasadena, California 91114
Phone (626) 798-1124
Click here for their website

Released Time Christian Education represents one of the finest ministry opportunities available in America today. Our prayers are with you in your effort to establish a program in your community.

Anaheim Released Time Christian Education
Anaheim (714) 776-7404

Azusa Released Time Christian Education
Glendora (626) 335-0364

Bangor Released Time Christian Education
Bangor (530) 679-2510

Calaveras (West) Released Time Christian Education

Chino Released Time Christian Education
Chino (909) 393-3147

Cottonwood Released Time
Anderson (926) 365-7863

Fullerton Weekday Christian Education
Fullerton (714) 871-2248

Long Beach/Bellflower Evangelical Released Time Education
Long Beach (562) 428-7733

Los Angeles Compton Council of Churches - Released Time

Los Angeles/Inglewood Christian Released Time Education
Inglewood (310) 672-7777

Mariposa Released Time Christian Education
Mariposa (209) 742- 7550

Monterey Penninsula Released Time
Pacific Grove (408) 655-8753

Oakland -Alameda Evangelical Released Time Education
El Cerritos (510) 527-0738

Ontario Released Time Christian Education
Ontario (909) 982-7529

Orange Released Time Christian Education
Tustin (714) 734-0879

Pomona Released Time Christian Education
Pomona (909) 629-7282

Redding Released Time Christian Education

Richvale Released Time Christian Education
Richvale (916) 882-4225

Sacramento Released Time Bible Classes
Fair Oaks (916) 967-3972

San Joaquin County Released Time Christian Education
Wallace (209) 763-5898

San Jose/Santa Clarita County Youth for Christ -Evangelical Released Time Education
San Jose (408) 232-5678

Santa Ana Released Time Education (Hands of Hope)
Santa Ana (714) 979-4422

Taft Westside Bible Released Time
Taft (805) 765-2079

The Fellowship of Christian Released Time Ministries
Long Beach (800) 360-7943

Tulare Released Time Christian Education
Tulare (209) 686-6308

Westminster Released Time
Westminster (714) 898-1147

Yorba Linda Released Time Christian Education
Placentia (714) 996-9967


Released Time classes are operating in at least 309 schools in sixteen different school districts all over the state of California. The 1992 RT enrollment topped 8000 school children statewide. Generally, educators are aware of Released Time since many programs began in the 1940's.

At this time all Released Time programs of which we am aware are being conducted with elementary school children for one hour per week. Class locations include nearby churches, trailers, private homes, chapel cars, park, clubhouses, nearby buildings and buses. Released Time is available to high school students, but to our knowledge, no one is currently conducting high school Released Time in California.

Although many educators are aware of Released Time, the level of receptivity varies. Please keep in mind that school board officials are not required to allow Released Time classes and your request for a class must be carefully crafted to meet state and federal guidelines. FCRTM can assist you with this.

Information provided by:

The Fellowship of Christian Released Time Ministries

5722 Lime Ave. ˜ Long Beach, CA 90805

Contact Us

California Released Time Christian Education Association, Inc.

Genny Madison

1534 N. Amador ˜ Ontario, CA 91764

(909) 982-7529 and fax: (909) 982-8300