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Here is the question that we asked UFI readers:

“Should public schools be allowed to offer elective credit for religion classes that students take off-campus during school hours (during legally allowed “release time”)?”

Here is how readers responded:

96 Percent                           Yes

 2 Percent                            No

 2 Percent                            Not sure

There was a large response to this question – kind of surprised us.  The original case dealing with “release time” was decided in 1952 (Zorach v. Clauson) where the U.S.  Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of granting students release time from public schools to attend religious education or services.

A new case originated in South Carolina where a recently passed law allows school districts to give elective credit for release time classes in a way similar to how students are allowed to transfer credits from private schools.

Because of increased graduation requirements, it has become increasingly difficult for students who participate in “release time” to obtain enough credits to graduate.  The South Carolina law was an effort to accommodate these students.

The Beckett Fund for Religious Freedom is defending the Spartanburg, South Carolina, School District and the case is expected to go before the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals later this year.

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