STATUTES: Nevada Revised Statutes
Nevada compulsory attendance law (§392.040) requires that all children, ages 7-16 (inclusive), must attend public school. However, a child may be excused if "the child's receiving at home or in some other school equivalent instruction of the kind and amount approved by the State Board of Education." (§392.070).
Nevada statutes do not expressly allow or prohibit Released Time for religious instruction for public school students.
EDUCATION REGULATIONS Policy: NoneCASES: - None
ATTORNEY GENERAL OPINIONS:
1) AGO 320 (3-3-1954)
This opinion expressly states that Released Time from public school attendance for the purpose of religious instruction is not authorized by Nevada Laws.
2) AGO 316 (2-19-1954) AGO 14 (2-23-1955)These opinions both hold that governing Boards of public schools do not have the authority to allow use of public school buildings or facilities by religious groups for sectarian purposes. If Released Time programs were allowed, the religious instruction could not be given on school property.
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.
The Fellowship of Christian Released Time Ministries
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