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

Louisiana

Updated July 2009
SUMMARY for Louisiana
General Information Louisiana, 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 Louisiana does not have specific laws regarding Released Time, a Released Time program in Louisiana 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 LOUISIANA DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION

Website: http://www.doe.state.la.us/lde/index.html

 

DETAILS for Louisiana
Statutes According to Louisiana compulsory attendance law, all children, ages 7-15 (inclusive), must attend a public or private school or participate in an approved home study program. LA. REV. STAT ANN. § 17:221

There is no specific statutory permission or authorization for Released Time programs in Louisiana. Children are exempted from compulsory attendance, however, if their religious faith "requires absence for the observance of special and recognized holidays of the child's own faith" [§226 (3)(d)]. This may be applicable to an extent in allowing the operation of Released Time programs.

 

Regulations According to David Hamilton, the General Counsel of the State Board of Education (See letter of October 7, 1982 to the Avoyelles Parish School Board), each local school board has the discretion to grant Released Time for purposes of religious instruction.

The State Board of Education believes it does have the authority, pursuant to Title 17, by regulation, to authorize Released Time programs in local school districts. The specifics of the program, including the days and hours of Released Time, are left to the local boards to work out with the particular sectarian groups wishing to offer religious instruction (See "Position Paper on Released Time" prepared by David Hamilton and Gerald Cobb of the State Board of Education).