I believe that (Released Time) is the greatest mission that is taking place in our community—reaching 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

Mississippi

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

Website: http://www.mde.k12.ms.us/

 

DETAILS for Mississippi
Statutes Mississippi compulsory attendance law requires that all children, ages 6-16 (inclusive), must attend public school or non-public school which includes private, parochial, church, and home schools.

Miss. Code Ann. §37-13-91 (2013) Though there is no express statute allowing or prohibiting Released Time programs, § 37-13-91 does allow excused absences for observances of religious events at the discretion of the school district.