Private School Regulation


Private schools in Oklahoma may apply to the State Board of Education for accreditation. Okla. Stat. tit. 70, 3-104.

Registration/Licensing/Accreditation: Private and parochial schools may apply to the State Board of Education for accreditation and classification in like manner as public schools. For accreditation, private and parochial schools must comply with the standards prescribed for public schools and members of the faculty must hold state certificates as required of teachers in public schools. Okla. Stat. tit. 70, § 3-104.

Recordkeeping/Reports: Private school principals have a duty to keep complete records of attendance for all children enrolled at the school and to notify the attendance officer of the district of absences and the reasons, if known. Principals have a duty to notify parents of a student's absence unless the parent has already notified the school. Okla. Stat. tit. 70 § 10-106.

Administrators at private middle, junior high and high schools accredited by the State Department of Education must notify the Department of any pupil dropping out from school. Reports must be made on a monthly basis on forms provided. Okla. Stat. tit. 70, § 35e.

Length of School Year/Day: A school day consists of not less than 6 hours devoted to school activities for grades 2-12. Okla. Stat. tit. 70, § 1-111.

Special Education: School districts may join in a written agreement with a private institution within the district to provide special education for children with disabilities. Okla. Stat. tit. 70, § 13-101.

Health: Students may not be admitted to private or parochial schools unless they present certification that they have received or are in the process of receiving immunizations against diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus, measles (rubeola), (rubella) poliomyelitis, and smallpox, or are likely to be immune as a result of the disease. The list of diseases may be revised by the State Board of Health. Okla. Stat. tit. 70, § 1210.191.

Children afflicted with contagious disease or head lice may be prohibited from attending private or parochial schools until they are well. A child excluded for head lice must present certification from a health professional that he is no longer afflicted with head lice prior to reentering school. Okla. Stat. tit. 70, § 1210.194.

Educational facilities serving grades K-12 may prohibit smoking, snuff, and chewing tobacco on the school grounds. Schools may designate smoking areas only for adults and must offer a nonsmoking area for school personnel for breaks, lunch or similar activities. Okla. Stat. tit. 63, § 1-1523.

Safety: Local law enforcement agencies will assist nonpublic schools that wish to develop voluntary fingerprinting programs for students to identify and locate missing children. Okla. Stat. tit. 10, § 1633.

Oklahoma criminal law provides enhanced penalties for individuals who distribute a controlled substance within 1,000 feet of the real property of a private elementary or secondary school. Okla. Stat. tit. 63, §§ 2-401; 2-402.

It is a criminal offense to possess a weapon on private school property or in a vehicle used for transportation of students or teachers unless authorized. Okla. Stat. tit. 21, § 1280.1.

Hazing, i.e. an activity endangering the health or safety of a student for the purpose of initiation into an organization operating subject to a private school, is illegal under Oklahoma's criminal law. A copy of a private school's policy prohibiting hazing must be given to each student enrolled. Okla. Stat. tit. 21, § 1190.

Home Schooling: Oklahoma has no laws governing home schooling. The compulsory attendance law allows for parents or legal guardians to home school their children.

Public Aid for Private Schools/Private School Students: The Oklahoma Constitution prohibits the appropriation of public money or property for the use of a sectarian institution. Okla. Const. Art. 2, Sec. 5.

Property used exclusively for schools or for religious purposes is exempt from taxation. Okla. Const. Art. 10, Sec. 6.

Miscellaneous: Sales of tangible personal property or services to nonprofit private elementary and secondary schools accredited by the State Department of Education or recognized by the State Board of Education are exempt from Oklahoma sales tax. Tuition and educational fees, fundraising sales, and admission tickets and concessions at athletic events up to $75,000, are also exempt from sales tax. Okla. Stat. tit. 68, § 1356. Coin-operated vending machines owned and located in a private school are exempt from state tax. Okla. Stat. tit. 68, § 1503.1.

Proprietors of private and parochial schools have a duty to display the flag of the United States of America during every school day either from a flagstaff or pole, and in inclement weather within the school building. Okla. Stat. tit. 25, § 153.

By statute, a principal of a private secondary school is appointed by the Governor to serve on the Oklahoma School of Science and Mathematics Board of Trustees. Okla. Stat. tit. 70, § 1210.401.

The Oklahoma Heritage Association coordinates annual observance of "Oklahoma Heritage Week" and includes parochial schools in its efforts. Okla. Stat. tit. 25, § 90.2.

It is a misdemeanor for any teacher to reveal information about a student obtained in his capacity as teacher, except as required in the performance of his duties or upon request by a parent/guardian. Okla. Stat. tit. 70, § 6-115.

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.