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H. B. No. 171 As Reported by the House Education CommitteeAs Reported by the House Education Committee
|130th General Assembly
Representatives McClain, Patmon
Representatives Amstutz, Beck, Becker, Buchy, Burkley, Derickson, Hall, Hayes, Henne, Hill, Hood, Huffman, Retherford, Smith, Thompson, Wachtmann, Bishoff
To enact section 3313.6018 of the Revised Code to
permit public school students to attend and
receive credit for released time courses in
religious instruction conducted off school
property during regular school hours.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF OHIO:
Section 1. That section 3313.6018 of the Revised Code be
enacted to read as follows:
Sec. 3313.6018. (A) As used in this section, "released time"
means a period of time during which a student is excused from
school to attend a course in religious instruction conducted by a
private entity off school district property.
(B) A school district board of education may adopt a policy
that authorizes a student to be excused from school to attend a
released time course in religious instruction, provided that each
of the following applies:
(1) The student's parent or guardian gives written consent.
(2) The sponsoring entity maintains attendance records and
makes them available to the school district the student attends.
(3) Transportation to and from the place of instruction,
including transportation for students with disabilities, is the
complete responsibility of the sponsoring entity, parent,
guardian, or student.
(4) The sponsoring entity makes provisions for and assumes
liability for the student.
(5) No public funds are expended and no public school
personnel are involved in providing the religious instruction.
(6) The student assumes responsibility for any missed
While in attendance in a released time course in religious
instruction, a student shall not be considered absent from school.
No student may be released from a core curriculum subject course
to attend a religious instruction course.
(C) A policy adopted under division (B) of this section may
authorize high school students to earn up to two units of high
school credit for the completion of a released time course in
religious instruction. In determining whether to award credit for
completion of such a course, the board shall evaluate the course
based on purely secular criteria that are substantially the same
criteria used to evaluate similar nonpublic high school courses
for purposes of determining whether to award credit for such
courses to a student transferring from a nonpublic high school to
a public high school. However, there shall be no criteria
requiring that released time courses be completed only at a
nonpublic school. The decision to award credit for a released time
course of religious instruction shall be neutral to, and shall not
involve any test for, religious content or denominational
For purposes of this division, secular criteria may include,
but are not limited to, the following:
(1) The number of hours of classroom instruction time;
(2) A review of the course syllabus that reflects course
requirements and materials used;
(3) The methods of assessment used in the course;
(4) The qualifications of the course instructor.
Notwithstanding division (C)(8) of section 3313.603 of the
Revised Code, high school credit awarded to a student for a
released time course in religious instruction may substitute for
the same amount of credit in subjects listed in that division.