Last Updated on March 18, 2021 by Michelle Ball
By Michelle Ball, California Education Attorney for Students since 1995
Religion and religious instruction in the schools generally does not occur based on the doctrine of separation of Church and State. But, can a parent provide their OWN religious instruction during school hours for which they receive an EXCUSED absence? Maybe– the answer depends on the school district involved.
Per California Education Code section 46014, a school district MAY adopt a policy allowing pupils to be excused from instruction to participate in:
The code also states that such an absence, if allowed, is not computed as an “absence” for the school. In other words, the school still gets paid for that child’s attendance. Sounds great!
There are limitations however:
1) The child would still have to attend the minimum school day required, and
2) The district would have to pass a policy allowing these types of absences, and
3) The absences are limited to a maximum of four times per month (or as specified in the district policy).
If you would like your child to attend a religious matter during school hours check if your school district has a policy allowing this to be an excused absence. If they do, you will have to follow the policy in place. If they do not, you can ask your Board of Education to adopt one!
Education Attorney for Students
LAW OFFICE OF MICHELLE BALL
717 K Street, Suite 228
Sacramento, CA 95814
Please see my disclaimer. This is legal information, not legal advice and no attorney-client relationship is formed by this posting. This blog may not be reproduced without permission from the author and proper attribution of authorship. This blog may not reflect the current state of the law.