Private School Regulation

Arkansas

Instruction in English: The basic language of instruction in all schools of the state, including private schools, is the English language only. Violators are guilty of a misdemeanor; the fine not to exceed $25. Ark. Code Ann. § 6-16-104.

Special Education: Children attending private schools may voluntarily submit to tests and evaluations for suspected disabilities and assessments for individual education plans but are not required. Ark. Code Ann. § 6-41-219.

When the state or school districts utilize private schools to serve handicapped students, the State Board of Education and the local school districts continue to bear responsibility to assure an appropriate quantity and quality of instructional and related services. Ark. Code Ann. § 6-41-206. Prior to expending funding for new programs to handicapped students in nonpublic schools, the Division of Vocational and Technical Education of the Department of Education will publish a notice of intent and invite proposals from special service providers. Ark. Code Ann. § 6-41-101.

Health: Prior to admission to a private school, a child must be immunized from poliomyelitis, diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, red (rubeola) measles and rubella. Children whose parents or guardians object based on religious tenets and practices of a recognized church or religious denomination are exempt. Ark. Code Ann. § 6-18-702 (a), (f).

Private schools must institute as soon as possible a continuing scoliosis screening program in accordance with State Board of Health regulations. Ark. Code Ann. § 20-15-802.

Safety: Private schools are required to have one fire drill each month and to keep all doors and exits unlocked during schools hours. Ark. Code Ann. § 12-13-109.

Private school teachers who have reasonable cause to suspect that a child has been subjected to child maltreatment must immediately notify the Department of Human Services Central Intake Unit or law enforcement. Ark. Code. Ann. § 12-12-507.

Persons loitering on or near private school grounds during school hours or at any school-sponsored activities after regular school hours without any lawful purpose are guilty of a misdemeanor. Ark. Code Ann. § 6-21-607. Persons disturbing private schools by their conduct or trespassing on school grounds during recess or while school is in session are guilty of a misdemeanor. Ark. Code Ann. § 6-21-606.

Home Schooling: A parent or legal guardian who intends to home school a child must enroll the child in a home school at the beginning of each school year. Ark. Code Ann. § 6-18-201 (as amended). The form must include the following information: name, date of birth and grade level of the child and address of last school attended; location of the home school; description of the basic core curriculum; schedule of instruction; and education qualifications of parent/guardian/teacher. Home school students who are in the required grade levels for which the state mandates norm-referenced testing must take a standardized norm-referenced test, the results of which will be used for reporting purposes only.

The State Board of Education policy is that school districts provide a genuine opportunity to home school students with disabilities to access special education and related services from the district where they reside. This policy does not confer procedural protections and rights under Part B of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.

Public Aid for Private Schools/Private School Students: The Arkansas Constitution prohibits the use of money or property belonging to the public school fund or to the State for any other purpose. Ark. Const. Art. 14, Sec. 2.

Arkansas exempts "school buildings and apparatus; libraries and grounds used exclusively for all real and tangible personal school purposes" from all real and tangible personal property taxes. This exemption applies to private schools as well as public schools. Philips Co. v. Sister Estelle, 42 Ark. 536 (1884).

Miscellaneous: Private school authorities are required to procure a suitable United State flag and flagstaff to display the flag properly upon, near, or in the school buildings during the hours school is in session and at other times as school authorities direct. Ark. Code Ann. § 6-16-105(b).

Source: U.S. Department of Education, 1999 - This information is presented for research use only and should not be construed as legal advice.  Please consult an attorney for further information.

Source: U.S. Department of Education, 1999 - This information is presented for research use only and should not be construed as legal advice.  Please consult an attorney for further information.