I was really surprised when I realized many of the students in the classes did not go to church!  Most of these kids heard about Released Time and had a genuine longing to find out about Jesus Christ…and I see Him moving in their lives every day!

Released Time Teacher, Coastal School Ministries


Updated July 2009  
SUMMARY for Florida
General Information The first Released Time program in Florida was established in 1991. The program, located in Melbourne, offered an off campus elective class for students at Melbourne High School. When checking with the local school board, the program organizers were pleased to learn that a Released Time policy had already been established.

The Florida law makes Released Time possible in every school district. Although a tremendous opportunity exists, few know of it and fewer still take advantage. Every student in the state could and should have this program.

A parent from Melbourne wrote to the Released Time program organizers there:

"Thank you for all the effort in putting together the Released Time class. The course has had a very positive impact on our daughter. She is much better equipped to stand firm in her faith. I see a lot of growth in her. I believe the class helped the students to solidify their belief in Christ."


Department of Education Website Florida Department of Education

Website: http://www.fldoe.org/


DETAILS for Florida







The Florida Statutes expressly provide for "absence for religious instructions." FLA. STAT. § 1003.21(2)(b) (2013). It states that "Each district school board, in accordance with rules of the State Board of Education, shall adopt a policy that authorizes a parent to request and be granted permission for absence of a student from school for religious instruction or religious holidays."

FLA. ADMIN CODE ANN. r. 6A-1.09514 (2013).

Each school district that chooses to allow a released time program shall implement, but is not limited to, the following rules:

1) Attendance must be provided by the program facilitators

2) The school must be relinquished from liability for the student and the program.

3) Decision on requests for release must take into account each student's progression plan.

4. Provisions must be in place for parents and students to be heard regarding termination of permission.

Excused absences for religious instruction or holiday must use, but are not limited to, the following rules:

1) Provisions for establishing and modifying a list of religious holidays which shall be included in the rules. School districts may consult with religious institututions and leaders in the community for this purpose.

2) Provisions for the procedures and time limits to be observed by students, teachers, and administrators in making available to each student so excused an opportunity to make up any examination, study, or work assignment which has been missed.

3) Provisions for the procedures and time limits applicable to the giving of prior notice of a student's intended absence by the student's parent or guardian.

4) Provisions giving affected students and parents an opportunity to be heard in connection with the decision to excuse or not excuse an absence on a day or portion thereof which is not included in the list of religious holidays.