||Arkansas, 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 Arkansas does not have specific laws regarding Released Time, a Released Time program in Arkansas 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).
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.
||Arkansas compulsory attendance law requires that children, ages 7-16 (inclusive), must attend a public, private, or parochial school. [ARK. CODE ANN. § 6-18-201 (2012)]
The Board of Directors of each school district in the State has the authority to adopt student attendance policies ARK. CODE ANN § 6-18-209 (2012). All children who desire to be released for religious purposes should present a written request to the local School Board of Directors.