Bible Release Time aims to offer parents and children an opportunity to receive biblical instruction in a legal way during school hours. A 1952 Supreme Court case (Zorach v. Clauson) determined that children could be released from school to receive religious instruction as long as the program abides by three standard guidelines. First, the child must have written permission from parents approving the child’s participation. Second, the instruction must take place off school grounds. Third, no governmental funds can be used to financially support the instruction. When these three criteria are satisfied, children can be released to receive biblical instruction throughout the school year. In the effort to help children pursue the brightest futures possible, we believe this foundational instruction in the Bible is critically important. The program logistics work similarly to our dental program in that we work with the churches and the schools to help facilitate the transportation of the students.
Bible Release Time (BRT) is a program that grants access to the children in the public school system to be given Biblical instruction one hour per month. We partner with local host churches within a few minutes of each school and with the signed permission of the parents, the children are transported by bus to the local church. Kids arrive to an upbeat, fun atmosphere with volunteers welcoming them with a smile and an encouraging word. Elgin Foundation adopted BRT as a new core program in 2015, and we are currently in seven of our school districts and 35 schools and have an average attendance of over 2,600 students. We are hopeful to expand this wonderful program into more districts in the near future.