A Released Time Religious Instruction FAQ is now available

We were con­tact­ed recent­ly by some­one who lives in the Sylvania Public school dis­trict. She said that LifeWise had a pre­sen­ta­tion sched­uled for the next school board meet­ing and want­ed to know if we had any infor­ma­tion about the group.

Released Time Religious Instruction is allowed under Ohio Revised Code 3313.6022. The big take­away is that school dis­tricts aren’t required to adopt RTRI poli­cies.

Other points from the law:

(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 school­work.

LifeWise Academy is a large reli­gious group based in Columbus that works with local groups to install Bible class­es in school dis­tricts. In 2022, LifeWise brought in over $6 mil­lion in dona­tions, enrolls near­ly 30,000 stu­dents from more than 300 schools across more than 12 states. LifeWise has a strong pres­ence in Ohio. LifeWise will be in more than 170 Ohio school dis­tricts by next school year — more than a quar­ter of the state’s school dis­tricts.

LifeWise only teach­es Christianity and only hires Christians to be instruc­tors and staff.

The oth­er issues we have is that chil­dren are being removed from school grounds for an hour more by peo­ple who don’t work for the school dis­trict and who the dis­trict does­n’t vet. The class­es have absolute­ly no con­nec­tion to any­thing being taught in the pub­lic school. It is basi­cal­ly a Sunday school dur­ing the week. LifeWise claims it is teach­ing char­ac­ter val­ues but you can learn those val­ues with­out reli­gion.

We have cre­at­ed a FAQ page about Released Time Religious Instruction with addi­tion­al infor­ma­tion about the class­es and LifeWise.