Skip to content

604.05 Religion Based Excuse from School Program

Students, and/or parents on behalf of their minor children, who wish to be excused and/or have their children excused from a district program because of religious beliefs must file a written request for excusal with the student’s principal to be considered by the principal and the superintendent/designee.

The board authorizes the administration to approve the request for religious-based excusal if the request is not
disruptive to the education program, does not infringe on a compelling state or educational interest, and does not interfere with other district operations. Students who are allowed to be excused from a program or activity contrary to their religious beliefs shall be required to do a related alternate activity or study approved by administration.

Legal Reference:
U.S. Const’n amend. I
Lemon v. Kurtzman, 403 U.S. 602, 91 S. Ct. 2105 (1971)
Graham v. Central Community Schools 608 F. Supp. 531 (Iowa 1985)
Iowa Code ßß256.11(6), 279.8 (2007), 279.50
281 I.A.C 12.5(6)

Cross Reference:
602.41 Instructional Program
603.05 Health Education
603.06 Physical Education
603.70 Teaching Controversial Issues
603.80 Religious Expression
605.02 Objections to Instructional Materials
605.05 Objection to Library Materials

Approved:
October 9, 1989

Reviewed:
February 11, 2009
November 17, 2014
October 16, 2017
February 17, 2022

Revised:
March 23, 2009
November 17, 2014
March 21, 2022

R.R. for Policy #604.05
A request for religious-based excusal from a district program shall meet the following parameters:

  • The request shall be in writing; and
  • The request shall be based on documented religious beliefs; and
  • The request shall state which activities or studies are contrary to the religious beliefs; and
  • The request shall state why the activities and/or studies violate the religious beliefs; and
  • The request shall state a proposed related alternate activity or study. The relevant teacher and/or
    administrator(s) may assist in finding an alternate activity.

When determining whether to approve a religious-based excusal from an activity and when determining the appropriateness of an alternate activity to replace the program from which a student is seeking excusal, administrator(s) shall consider factors including, but not limited to, if staff is available to supervise the alternate activity; (2) if space is available to accommodate the student in the approved alternative activity; (3) the number of students who will participate in the alternate activity; (4) if allowing the excuse will place the district in a position where it is unlawfully supporting and/or discouraging a particular religion; (5) if the program or activity from which excusal is requested is required for promotion to the next grade level or for graduation; and (6) if the activity from which excusal is sought is a significant expectation of the course curriculum.