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

Connecticut

Updated July 2009  
SUMMARY for Connecticut
General Information Connecticut, 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 Connecticut does not have specific laws regarding Released Time, a Released Time program in Connecticut would fall subject to the federal guideposts presented in Illinois ex. rel. McCollum v. Board of Education, 333 U.S. 203 (1948) and Zorach v. Clauson, 343 U.S. 306 (1952)..

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 and Zorach.

 

Department of Education Website Connecticut State Department of Education

Website: http://www.state.ct.us/sde/

 

DETAILS for Connecticut

Statutes

 

 

 

 

Case Law

 

Connecticut compulsory attendance law requires that all children, ages 7-15 (inclusive), must attend public school or the parents must show the child is "elsewhere receiving equivalent instruction in the studies taught in the public schools." There is no explicit statute either allowing or forbidding Released Time programs. CONN. GEN. STAT. § 10-184 (2013)

General Statutes of Connecticut

 (Pierce ex rel. Pierce v. Sullivan West Central School District, 379 F.3d 56, 2d Cir 2004).

New York's Education Law provision allowing "released time" from public schools for religious instruction did not violate Establishment Clause as implemented by school district, using no public funds and involving no on-site religious instruction; program was purely voluntary and there was no specific coercion or pressure brought to bear on non-participants by school officials. Though this case deals with released time in New York, it has precedential weight in federal courts in Connecticut.