I believe that (Released Time) is the greatest mission that is taking place in our community‚ÄĒreaching out to youths at an impressionable age and giving them a firm foundation for life.  I believe that training young people to live Christian lives will pay huge dividends for our state and nation in the future.  There is no better investment of our time and energy.

Leland Burch, Retired businessman and member of local Released Time Board

New Jersey

Updated July 2009
SUMMARY for New Jersey
General Information New Jersey, 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 Jersey does not have specific laws regarding Released Time, a Released Time program in New Jersey 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 Jersey Department of Education

Website: http://www.state.nj.us/education/


DETAILS for New Jersey
Statutes New Jersey compulsory attendance law requires that all children, ages 6-15 (inclusive), must attend a public school or a day school in which there is given instruction equivalent to that provided in the public schools for children. The child may also receive "equivalent instruction elsewhere than at school." N.J. STAT. ANN. § 18A:38-25)

There are no express statutes either prohibiting or permitting released time programs for the purpose of religious instruction.