STATUTES: Maine Revised Statutes Title 20
According to Maine compulsory attendance law (§5001 (2) (c)), all children, ages 7-16 (inclusive) must attend public school or a private school which offers "equivalent instruction." On April 13, 1984, the Maine Legislature enacted §1224-A in order to specifically permit Released Time. Public school students who participate in a course of moral instruction at their place of worship (or other suitable place), may be granted Released Time up to a maximum of one hour per week. Each local school unit has the option of granting Released Time and such Released Time must be in accordance with policies established by the local school unit. The Released Time program cannot be financed by the public school nor can it take place on public school property.
EDUCATION REGULATIONS: (Policy)
Guidelines for operation of Released Time programs are left to the discretion of each local school unit.CASES: - None ATTORNEY GENERAL OPINIONS: - None
The first step is to gather as much information as you can about Maine's Released Time statute, what, if anything, is being done with Released Time in the state, 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.
The Fellowship of Christian Released Time Ministries
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