STATUTES: Hawaii Revised Statutes
Hawaii compulsory attendance law (§298-9) requires that all children, ages 6-17 (inclusive), must attend public school or private school during the entire school year.
The Hawaii State Statutes expressly provide for Released Time programs in §298-15. If a parent requests in writing that their child be released for religious instruction, the "Department of Education shall provide for the release of and shall release the child from attendance at public school." A child may attend religious instruction for not more than 60 minutes each week, only on such days and during such school hours at the Department designates.
Actual attendance at the sessions of the religious instruction shall count as attendance at the public schools. The Statute includes a warning that the privilege of Released Time will be withdrawn by the Department if it is found that the child is not attending sessions of religious instruction. In addition, no public school teacher may participate in this religious instruction nor may public funds be used directly or indirectly for such religious instruction.The Legislature has clearly recognized the constitutionality of Released Time programs and has adequately established statutory guidelines for operating such a program.
EDUCATION REGULATIONS: (Policy)
Kathleen Jones, the Public Information Officer of the State Board of Education (Honolulu, 808-549-6583) reported in 1984 that the Released Time program is presently being used in 232 public schools in the State of Hawaii. The program is set up on an individual student basis, rather than as a school program. No public school buses are allowed to transport students to religious classes at this time leaving transportation to car pools organized by the parents. The program, in addition, is publicized through the churches, and not through the schools.
ATTORNEY GENERAL OPINIONS:
Atty. Gen. Op. 66-24
This opinion establishes that federal and state constitutions are not violated when county owned buses are rented by sectarian institutions to transport public school students to religious education classes.
Released Time organizations in the state of Hawaii
Released Time Education Kapaa
Hawaii is one of only six states with a statute that reads "shall" provide rather than "may" provide for Released Time. This usage opens the door for Released Time in every school district. The FCRTM urges parents and churches to coordinate Released Time programs in every school in the state.
The Fellowship of Christian Released Time Ministries
5722 Lime Ave. ˜ Long Beach, CA 90805Contact Us