Class time off for religious instruction coming?

by Sheldon Ocker

March 12 board of education work session

The Revere Schools Board of Education is considering a new policy that allows students to leave their school building to take religious instruction from a private party away from school property.

According to the prospective policy, students will be excused from class if six requirements are met:

  • “The student’s parent or guardian gives written consent.”
  • “The sponsoring entity maintains attendance records and makes them available to the school district the student attends.”
  • “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.”
  • “The sponsoring entity makes provisions and assumes liability for the student.”
  • “No public funds are expended and no public school personnel are involved in providing the religious instruction.”
  • “The student assumes responsibility for any missed schoolwork.”

Students will not be permitted to miss class in a core curriculum subject to take off-campus religious training.

The language of the proposed policy is taken directly from the Ohio Revised Code, the provisions of which went into effect in 2014.

Another element of the statute allows high school students to earn two units of credit for completion of the released time for religious instruction, though school districts are not required to offer class credit.

New law firm

The board approved using the law firm of Gingo and Bair Law, based in Independence, as necessary.

“The attorney we have used left Squire Patton Boggs to become a partner there,” said Treasurer Rick Berdine. “We’re in the midst of having some special education cases … so it makes sense to do this.”

What’s in a name?

The board ratified a recommendation to change the title of a computer technician involved in repair and support.

Director of Technology John Schinker told the board that a technology employee is retiring, which gives the impetus for redefining that position. Inasmuch as the district has not made a technology hire in 17 years, the timing is right.

“It changes the focus to be oriented more toward problem solving, trouble shooting, customer service, communication, interacting with students and teachers, which are important in addition to the technology skills,” he said. ∞