State of
North Carolina

Released Time Laws and Guidelines for the state of North Carolina

STATUTES: North Carolina General Statutes

North Carolina Compulsory attendance law (§115 C-378) requires that all children, ages 7-15 (inclusive), must "attend school continuously for a period equal to the time which the public school to which the child is assigned is in session." A child may also attend a private church school, school of religious charter (§115C-547) or a qualified non-public school

(§115-C-555). There is no statute expressly prohibiting or permitting Released Time programs. Section 115 C378, however, does grant the principal of each school authority to grant excused absences.


The establishment of Released Time programs and the amount of Released Time students may take to pursue religious instruction is purely a matter of discretion with the local school board according to Harry Wilson, Legal Counsel, of Department of Public Instruction (Raleigh, (919) 733-3813).

Apparently, Released Time programs are widely practiced in North Carolina.

CASES: - None


Released Time organizations in the state of North Carolina

Blue Ridge Christian Ministries, Inc.
(704) 743-2762

CBM Ministries, Inc.
(910) 628-6326


Like your state, many do not have specific laws or guidelines concerning Released Time. The absence of a specific law does not necessarily prohibit Released Time programs. In fact, it may allow a wider range of Released Time programs. For example, it is possible to offer Released Time classes as an off-campus elective class on the High School or Junior High level, which students take daily. This is being done in states such as Georgia, Florida, Utah, Arizona, and Idaho.

The particular challenge in your state is that in the absence of a specific statute, you will need to conduct research into the legal background of Released Time at the federal level (FCRTM can help!), and how decisions are made within your school system. The majority of school districts would require approval at the school board level, but many are moving to "site-based management,' which would perhaps allow individual school principals to approve a Released Time program. Once your research is complete, you will need to approach the appropriate decision-maker(s) with a proposal for a Released Time class.

Even with the Supreme Court decision of 1952 (Zorach vs. Clauson), we must remember that approval for a Released Time program is a privilege, not a right. School principals and school boards may accommodate a Released time program, but they are not required to do so. Experience teaches us that a carefully crafted approach, coupled with a positive relationship with school officials will usually open the doors for a Released Time program.

Information provided by:

The Fellowship of Christian Released Time Ministries

5722 Lime Ave. ˜ Long Beach, CA 90805

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