As the culture becomes darker and darker, Released Time Bible Education becomes more and more important.  We are now reaching out to a generation of children who have no compass for right and wrong and are Biblically illiterate…a generation that is unchurched yet hungers for answers.  Now more than ever our public schools are ripe for harvest as a mission field and Released Time fills that need.

Finn Laursen, Executive Director of large teachers’ association

New Hampshire

Updated July 2009  
SUMMARY for New Hampshire
General Information New Hampshire, like many other states does not have specific laws regarding Released Time. However, this does not necessarily prohibit Released Time. In fact, it may allow a wider range of Released Time programs. Since New Hampshire does not have specific laws regarding Released Time, a Released Time program in New Hampshire would fall subject to the federal guideposts presented in McCollum v. Board of Education, 333 U.S. 203 (1948), Zorach v. Clauson, 343 U.S. 306 (1952), and Grand Rapids School District v. Ball, 473 U.S. 373 (1985).

In summary, the above cases present three general requirements for Released Time programs: 1) The state cannot fund Released Time directly or indirectly. This prohibits not only funds themselves but also any support or benefit from anything purchased or anyone compensated by state funds; 2) Released Time programs cannot take place on school premises; and 3) Participation in Released Time programs must be voluntary. There cannot be any coercion, encouragement, or discouragement on the part of any school official. However, these three points are not exclusive. One should conduct thorough research on the latest federal and state case law to see whether your state or federal circuit has its own case law supplementing the requirements in McCollum, Zorach, and Ball.


Department of Education Website New Hampshire Department of Education



DETAILS for New Hampshire
Statutes New Hampshire compulsory attendance law requires that all children, ages 6-15 (inclusive), must attend public school or "an approved private school during all the time the public schools are in session." N.H. REV. STAT. ANN. § 193.1

Although New Hampshire has no statutory provisions expressly defining a Released Time program, N.H. REV. STAT. ANN. § 193.1-a permits the State Board of Education to approve "Dual Enrollment" programs. Full time attendance may be satisfied by attendance at more than one school and one of those schools may be nonpublic or religious.


Case Law

 Americans United for Separation of Church and State v. Paire, 359 F.Supp 505 (1973) 

 The federal district court in New Hampshire has found that excessive governmental entanglement with religion is strong enough to make a dual enrollment program unconstitutional, like Released Time Programs.

Such a program would be valid if the public school teachers only taught in the public schools and the private school teachers only taught in the parochial schools.