A Released Time Program is off-campus religious instruction for public school children that takes place during the school day. Participation is voluntary and students have their parents' permission to attend."I know for sure that several of my students don't attend church, and their parents don't take them to Vacation Bible School. The Released Time classes are the only exposure they get to the Bible" --a local teacher
What is it?
The most effective, legal way to reach today's public school students with the Bible.
Released Time Bible Education
Is it Legal?
Yes. In 1952, the United States Supreme Court ruled on Released Time in a case known as "Zorad v. Clauson" (342 U.S. 306). The case stated that Released Time is permissible if: a) It is voluntary; b) Students have parents' permission; c) The classes are held off-campus; d) Transportation is provided by the program sponsor; e) Liability is assumed by the program sponsor. The court said, "When the state encourages religious authorities by adjusting the schedule of public events to sectarian needs, it follow the best of our traditions, for it then respects the religious nature of our people and accommodates the public service to their spiritual needs. To hold that it may not, would be to find in the Constitution a requirement that the government show a callous indifference to religious groups. That would be preferring those who believe in no religion over those who do believe."
What is the current law?
According to the document RELIGIOUS FREEDOM IN PUBLIC SCHOOLS: A Joint Statement on Current Law, on the subject of Released Time it says, "Schools have the discretion to dismiss students to off-premises religious instruction, provided that schools do not encourage or discourage participation or penalize those who do not attend. Schools may not allow religious instruction by outsiders on premises during the school day."
Is It Beneficial?
Yes. Through the study of God's Word students are taught morals and good behavior and therefore become better students, citizens, sons, and daughters.
"The evidence is too obvious. (With Released Time) violence diminishes; relations among the kids improve, and the desire for education improves." --South Carolina Supreme Court Judge
Where is it happening now?
Released Time began in 1914 and has grown to the point where it is reaching over 250,000 students in 35 states. In Alabama, Released Time has been reaching students in Geneva County for several years. Other school systems have approved it as well. Camp Victory is currently reaching over 3,000 students in grades K-6th with a monthly Released Time program in 4 different counties (Covington, Geneva, Coffee, and Henry). There is also a program in Escambia County, Alabama.
We do need volunteers to help teach and walk students to and from class. If you are available and interested in helping, email the following information: Name, school you would prefer to volunteer at, phone number for contact, reason for volunteering, what part of the classes you would like to help - teaching or walking.
For more information, visit www.rtce.org