603.10 - Religion-based Exclusion from School Programs




Parents, guardians, or legal custodians who wish to have their student excluded from a school program because of religious beliefs must inform the superintendent or designee. The board authorizes the administration to allow the exclusion if it is not disruptive to the educational process and it does not infringe on a compelling state or educational interest. Further, the exclusion must not interfere with other school district operations. Students who are allowed to be excluded from a program or activity which violates their religious beliefs shall be required to do an alternate activity or study.

In notifying the superintendent, or designee, the parents, guardians, or legal custodians shall abide by the following:

  1. The notice shall be in writing.
  2. The objection shall be based on religious beliefs.
  3. The objection shall state which activities or studies violate their religious beliefs.
  4. The objection shall state why the activities or studies violate their religious beliefs.
  5. The objection shall state a proposed alternate activity or study.

The superintendent, or designee, shall have sole discretion to make this determination.  The factors the superintendent, or designee, shall consider when a student requests to be excluded from a program or activity because of religious beliefs include but are not limited to:

  • Staff available to supervise a student who wishes to be excluded.
  • Space to house the student while the student is excluded.
  • Available superintendent, or designee, approved alternative course of study or activity while the student is excluded.
  • Numbers of students who wish to be excluded
  • Whether allowing the exclusion places the school in a position that it is supporting a particular religion.
  • Whether the program or activity is required for promotion to the next grade level or for graduation.

Adopted: 8/89
Reviewed: 7/11; 9/12; 9/13; 2/15; 4/18
Revised: 1/10
Related Policy (Code #): 603.9; 603.9-R
Legal Reference (Code of Iowa): US Const Amend I; Lee vs Weisman, 112 S Ct 2649 (1992);
Lemon vs Kurtzman, 403 US 602 (1971); Graham vs Central CSD of Decatur County, 608 F Supp
531 (SD Iowa 1985); §§ 256.11(6); 279.8 (2011)