Yes, Released Time is legal.

Released Time is not a violation of the judicial doctrine of separation of Church and State. In fact, Released Time honors that principle by adhering to the guidelines established in the key U.S. Supreme Court decision Zorach v. Clauson (1952), which has been tested thoroughly but upheld ever since. For this and other key documents and facts, visit

Settled Released Time principles both guard against government establishment of any one religion while allowing expression of our right to the “free exercise of religion” also protected by the 1st Amendment.

We’ve answered the “big question.” Here are the basics you need to know to make your Released Time program legal:

  1. Instruction must take place off school grounds;
  2. Students’ attendance must be voluntary, with written parental permission; and
  3. No state resources (taxpayer funds) may be used. RT is funded privately - by churches, community organizations and/or individuals.


Could our program benefit from a thorough review of our policies and procedures? We can help you walk through all the right steps.


What laws affect what we should and shouldn’t do? Visit our resource page for a clear, concise “Keeping it Legal” booklet that answers common questions.


Which best practices can protect our program from challenge? Check out our Members’ Zone, featuring model forms, white papers, and tips to help you start and maintain an effective, efficient RTBE program.

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School Ministries, Inc.
101 Rice Bent Way #6
Columbia, SC 29229
Copyright  June, 2024