ATTORNEY GENERAL OPINION

Alabama's system of home education is the best in the nation. It offers both freedom and protection for homeschool families.

In 1996 Representative Pete Turnham (Auburn) requested an attorney general's opinion on whether the state or local boards of education could regulate home schooling in Alabama. After analysis of the issue the Attorney General's office responded with the following letter addressed to Rep. Turnham, dated January 3, 1997.

Dear Representative Turnham: This opinion is issued in response to your request for an opinion from the Attorney General.

Question

Other than the state laws requiring parents to report attendance and for church schools to report if a student is no longer in attendance at such a church school, is there any provision of Alabama law that permits or requires any state local authority to regulate a church school?

Facts and Analysis

Church schools as defined in Code of Alabama 1975, 16-28-1(2) are exempt from governmental regulations. The law requires mandatory or compulsory attendance of all children between the ages of 7 and 16 years at either a public, private, or church school. Code of Alabama 1975, 16-28-2.1 and 16-28-3. Parents who enroll their children in church schools are required by 16-28-7, Code, to report their children's attendance to the local superintendent of education. The church school notifies the superintendent if a child no longer attends the church school.

Church schools are exempt from regulations or state laws governing public and private schools. Code of Alabama 1975, 16-28-24. There is no statutory authority authorizing or requiring any state or local authority to regulate church schools, which may conduct classes in any manner they see fit. There is no requirement that church school teachers be certified or that a church school be accredited by the state or any private agency. No state or governmental agency has the authority to regulate a church school.

Conclusion

Other than the state laws requiring parents to report attendance and for church schools to report if a student is no longer in attendance at such a church school, there is no provision of Alabama law that permits or requires any state or local authority to regulate a church school.

I hope this sufficiently answers your question. If our office can be of further assistance, please contact Jane LeCroy Brannan of my staff.

Sincerely,
Bill Pryor, Attorney General

By: James R. Solomon, Jr., Chief, Opinions Division