Religious Exemption in Virginia

What Is the “Religious Exemption”?

Parents who have sincere religious convictions against sending their children to school may consider a claim of Religious Exemption (RE) to compulsory schooling under §22.1-254 B 1 of the Code of Virginia.

The statute, §22.1-254 (B)(1) reads:

A school board shall excuse from attendance at school: any pupil who, together with his parents, by reason of bona fide religious training or belief is conscientiously opposed to attendance at school. For purposes of this subdivision, “bona fide religious training or belief” does not include essentially political, sociological or philosophical views or a merely personal moral code.

To learn more about the Religious Exemption, see Religious Exemption from Compulsory Schooling.

What is the Latest on this Issue?

See the full text of the bill HERE 

Del Tom Rust (R-Herndon) is patron to HJ 92a bill that calls for a study of the religious exemption (RE). The bill would require the state Department of Education to:

1. Survey each local school board to determine (i) how the school board makes the determination that a student is eligible to be excused from attending school by reason of bona fide religious training or belief, (ii) whether the initial determination pursuant to clause (i) is reviewed, (iii) whether the school board requires the initial grant to be renewed and, if so, how often, and (iv) whether the school board monitors the educational progress of students who have been excused from attending school by reason of bona fide religious training or belief or requires the student’s parents to report on the student’s educational progress, or both; and

2. Make a recommendation to the General Assembly on how, if at all, § 22.1-254 of the Code of Virginia could be amended to better carry out the requirements of Article VIII, Sections 1 and 3 of the Constitution of Virginia.

Although Del. Rust’s aide told us that Rust supports Religious Exemption, VaHomeschoolers believes HJ 92 is an attempt to eliminate RE and place the blame on DOE. This conclusion is tied to the same reasons VaHomeschoolers opposes HJ92.

Read our legislative position statement on HJ 92

VaHomeschoolers’ Position on HJ 92

Responsibility, Trust and Virginia’s Religious Exemption

From the Media? Get the Facts.

Journalist Fact Check

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