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Released Time Ministry "Need to Know" Information

  • What is "Released Time" Religious Education?"
    Released Time (“RT”) is the only legal means by which public school students may study their faith academically and devotionally during the school day. Schools may enter into a cooperative arrangement with the community group offering the classes. School personnel are required to remain neutral, neither encouraging nor discouraging students’ participation. While RT is equally available for any faith, School Ministries Ohio helps Christians offer Bible classes for the public school students of their communities.
  • Who is School Ministries Ohio?
    School Ministries Ohio educates, equips and encourages Christians to offer Bible classes for their community's public school students (K-12). As part of School Ministries, the nation's largest association of Released Time Bible Education programs, we mentor local leaders to create programming tailored to their students and values to start, grow and sustain Released Time Bible classes in keeping with time-tested resources and the nation's best practices.
  • Is Released Time Constitutional?
    Yes! RT has been around for more than a century, and was declared constitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1952. In addition, Released Time is the subject of statutes either requiring or permitting RT under specified circumstances in more than half of all U.S. states. See
  • Do these programs violate the separation of the church and state?
    No. Released Time classes honor the judicial doctrine of “separation of church and state” by following constitutional requirements established by the U.S. Supreme Court and affirmed by federal and state courts. The constitutionality of Released Time was recognized by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1952 and upheld since, as an expression of our right to the “free exercise of religion” protected by the 1st Amendment. Prominent voices across America’s ideological and theological spectrum agree on the constitutionality of Released Time. Note content and signatories to “Public Schools and Religious Communities”. Recently, a school district’s policy of conferring academic credit for elective Released Time classes was upheld as a constitutional accommodation of parents’ desires for their children to have access to religious education during the school day. In November 2012, the U.S. Supreme Court denied certiorari, allowing the Federal Court of Appeals’ 4th Circuit Moss decision favorable to released time academic credit to stand.
  • How does Released Time help students?
    It can help students find meaning and know they matter in a dark and hurting culture. Released Time is proven to help students academically, behaviorally and in character development. Teachers and volunteers provide much needed adult mentorship. Studies consistently show that students who take it, thrive.
  • Is academic credit available for students?
    Yes. Ohio law provides that students may earn up to 2 hours of academic credit for high-school level classes meeting specified requirements.
  • Who determines the curriculum?
    Your community does! The organization offering the Released Time classes has the responsibility and right to choose the curriculum. Christian organizations may teach Bible classes and are not required to teach all religions.
  • Do Released Time Bible education classes interfere with required classes?
    No. Released Time classes do not interfere with your child’s mandatory school courses or after-school activities. The class schedule is set by school personnel in consultation with Released Time staff. Frequently, Released Time classes are scheduled for times when other electives are offered.
  • What is necessary for my child to attend a Released Time program?
    A student's parent or guardian is required to sign permission forms provided by the local Released Time program. By law, the program must be FREE to schools!
  • How do I find out if Released Time Bible classes are already offered or approved in my area?
    We recommend contacting us to discuss whether and how your school district’s policies address Released Time. More than 400 of 600+ of Ohio public school districts — upwards of 60% — already have some form of RT instruction policy. Yet fewer than 50 Ohio communities are known to provide Released Time classes. So 90% of Ohio's school districts having policies are just waiting for their communities to organize and offer Bible classes. And districts without a policy can adopt one. Want to talk details? Does your district need a policy? Call us now to invite us to speak, help you think through each step, or ask us to share recommended model school board policies.
  • Are Released Time programs held on school grounds?
    Released Time classes are to be held off campus, typically at a local church, RT building or mobile classroom. If the classroom is not within walking distance, transportation is provided by the Released Time program — buses or vans owned by the local school may only be utilized if appropriate board policies are in place. Contact us to discuss details and possibilities for classes in your community.
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