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Released Time for Religious Instruction

Released Time for Religious Instruction

Agreement with Religious Instruction Providers

Religious organizations wishing to provide religious instruction to APS students during the school day must enter into an agreement with the district. The agreement will include the following:

  1. The religious organization will agree to take responsibility for the safety of students from the time they leave the school campus until they arrive back at school. Religious instruction will occur at a suitable place away from school property designated by the church or religious organization.

  2. The religious organization will agree to provide the school with signed permission slips from the parent or guardian of each participating student. The permission forms will be in an APS-approved format. Printing and distribution of the slips will be done at no cost to the school or district.


  2. If requested by the school, participating organizations must agree to provide the school with satisfactory information concerning student attendance that does not entangle the school in the operation of the religious instructional program.

  3. Participating organizations must agree to structure the program to avoid any perception of APS sponsorship of the instruction.

  4. Adult sponsors of participating organizations may not recruit potential participants on campus during school hours. Recruitment must refrain from involving expenditure of time or money to the school.

  5. Communication with participants must take place without access to school communication systems.

  6. Academic credit will not be awarded for religious instruction during the released time, nor will the student’s permanent record indicate participation in the religious instruction.

The religious organization will draft a proposed agreement and send it to the superintendent or designee for approval.

Implementation of Release for Religious Instruction

After a signed agreement has been filed in the superintendent’s office, a representative of the religious organization may contact schools from which the release of students is desired. The following must be met:

  1. The release must be scheduled at a time when there is no conflict with the student’s academic program. The school is not obligated to adjust other students' schedules to accommodate religious instruction needs.

  2. The release must take place regularly at a set time.

  3. The school can assume no costs related to religious instruction. This prohibition includes costs of application forms, permission slips, distribution of notices, and transportation.

  4. Instruction must take place off school premises. A school may not rent or donate school facilities for released-time religious instruction.

  5. The school can designate the periods during the day when students may be released without conflict with the academic program. However, restrictions on release time for religious instruction may not be more stringent than those for any other religious instruction. The school can adjust students’ schedules to accommodate religious instruction. 

  6. Principals in schools where a release time policy is in effect, with assistance from the appropriate associate superintendent, will have the responsibility of conferring with the appropriate religious authorities in matters relating to this procedural directive and, when deemed necessary, will take action to see that the procedural directive is followed.

Modification or Termination of Released Time Agreements

Agreements between Albuquerque Public Schools and providers to release students for religious instruction will remain in effect until terminated by either party. Changes to the terms of the agreement will be in writing and endorsed by both parties.

The school will notify parents if the religious instruction is terminated while parent permission slips remain in effect. Parents may withdraw permission at any time by signing a written revocation. If a high school student is being released in place of a course, the student will not be allowed to enroll in a course until the following semester.

Administrative Position Chief of Schools 

Chief Academic Officer


Legal Ref.:

  • Section 22-12-3, NMSA 1978

  • Zorach v. Clauson, U. S. 302 [1952]

NSBA/NEPN Classification: JHCB

Revised: May 1995
Revised: April 1996
Revised: May 1997

Reviewed: February 23, 2024

Revised: February 23, 2024