Arkansas Laws and ADE Rules Related to Nonpublic Schools
Updated November 20, 2019
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1. 6-16-104. Instruction in English--The basic language of instruction in all schools of the state, including private schools, is the English language only.
2. 6-16-143. CPR Training / Graduation Requirement – requires students in grades 9-12 to be trained in the psychomotor skills needed for cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) before graduating from high school, beginning in the 2014-2015 school year. This can be incorporated into the Health curriculum. CPR Certification is not required, only training.
3. 6-16-147. Computer Science Offering - requires each public high school and charter school to offer a course in computer science beginning in 2015-2016.
4. 6-16-135. Personal and family finance standards. requires students to be trained in personal and family finance before graduating from high school. This can be incorporated into the Economics curriculum.
5. 6-16-1406. Digital Learning Course / Graduation Requirement - requires that schools provide at least one (1) digital learning course to their students as either a primary or supplementary method of instruction. The course can fall into one of the following categories:
- Blended Learning-- education in which instruction and content are delivered through supervised instruction in a classroom and online delivery of instruction with some element of student control over time, place, path, or pace.
- Digital Learning-- a digital technology or internet-based educational delivery model that does not rely
- exclusively on compressed interactive video (CIV). Digital learning includes online and blended learning. If a school is using outside providers, they must be from the approved provider list provided by ADE.
- Online Learning-- is education in which instruction and content are delivered primarily over the Internet. The term does not include print-based correspondence education, broadcast television or radio, videocassettes, compact disks and stand-alone educational software programs that do not have a significant Internet-based.
1. 6-17-305. Student Teachers—Any primary or secondary school which has been accredited by the Department of Education may be entitled to assignments of student teachers from institutions of higher learning in this state, irrespective of accreditation by any other agency, private or public.
2. 6-17-2403. Credit for Teaching Experience-- The state will recognize and credit a teacher with a valid AR Teaching license for all of his/her years of teaching in a private school within the State of Ark. accredited by a nationally recognized accrediting association.
3. 6-17-709 and 6-17-2402. Professional Development Hours --The number of required hours for AR Teacher Licensure is 36 hours. Some of the required hours are designated (see information below). Individual ANSAA schools will set their own overall professional development hours above the 36 hours required. ANSAA standards mandate that all schools provide professional development annually but, the standards do not designate a total number of hours. We would recommend that schools maintain at least 36 hours in order to meet the state requirements for teacher licensure.
- 2017-2018 / Child Maltreatment Mandated Reporter: In the 2013-2014 school year and every fourth year thereafter, all educators shall obtain two (2) hours of professional development in Child Maltreatment; this training has to be completed by the end of June, 2014. The training can be done through Arkansas IDEAS.
- 2018-2019 / Parent Involvement: In the 2014-2015 school year and every fourth school year thereafter, each teacher and school administrator shall be required to have two (2) hours of professional development designed to enhance understanding of effective parent involvement strategies.
- 2019-2020 / Teen Suicide Awareness and Prevention: In the 2015-2016 school year and every fourth school year thereafter, all educators shall obtain two (2) hours of professional development in teen suicide awareness and prevention. The required professional development under this section may be accomplished by self-review of suitable suicide prevention materials approved by ADE.
- 2020-2021 / Arkansas History: In the 2016-2017 school year and every fourth school year thereafter, each teacher who provides instruction in Arkansas history shall obtain two (2) hours of professional development in Arkansas history.
The Right to Read Act (1063) states: “By the beginning of the 2021-2022 school year: A) All teachers employed in a teaching position that requires an elementary education (K-6) license or special education (K-12) license shall demonstrate proficiency in knowledge and practices of scientific reading instruction; and B) All other teachers shall demonstrate awareness in knowledge and practices of scientific reading instruction.” Here is a link to options to meet this requirement.
4. 6-17-422, 6-17-428 and ADE Rules. Code of Ethics--The Rules Governing the Code of Ethics for Arkansas Educators defines standards of ethical conduct for all educators, whether licensed or employed under a legal waiver from licensure, and to outline procedures for receiving complaints, authorizing and conducting investigations, and recommending enforcement of the Code of Ethics. Violations of the Code of Ethics Standards can result in disciplinary action and can also affect a teacher’s Arkansas teacher’s certificate. The Code of Ethics for Arkansas Educators video provides training. The video can be found at https://youtu.be/3xLo0ZiY6mE?t=1s.
5. 5-71-217(d). Cyberbullying – Cyberbullying of any part time or full time K-12 school employee (public or private school) is classified as a Class A Misdemeanor.
1. 6-18-207 and 6-18-201. Compulsory School Attendance-- Every Parent, guardian, or other person residing within the State of Arkansas having custody or charge of any child age five (5) through seventeen (17) years on or before August 1 of that year shall enroll and send the child to a public, private, or parochial school, or provide a home school for the child. NOTE: In 2010, the ANSAA board voted to allow our non-public schools a choice of keeping the original school entrance date of September 15 for kindergarten or going with the state ruling of August 1. This variance does not violate the law for compulsory school attendance since a student turning 5 between August 1-September 15 meets the minimum requirement for school attendance.
2. 6-18-222. Withdrawal of Students-- All schools, public and private, must notify the Department of Finance and Administration when a student fourteen (14) years of age or older is no longer in school. (Relates to revocation of driving privilege.)
3. 6-18-702. Immunizations-- Except as otherwise provided by law, no infant or child shall be admitted to a public or private school or child care facility of this state who has not been age-appropriately immunized from diseases as designated by the State Board of Health, as evidenced by a certificate of a licensed physician or a public health department acknowledging the immunization. The following link provides specific information regarding immunization requirements:
A facility may temporarily admit a child provided that the child becomes appropriately immunized, is in-process of receiving the needed doses of vaccine, or shows proof that they have applied for an exemption for those vaccines he/she has not received within thirty (30) calendar days after the child’s original admission or by October 1st for Tdap and Meningococcal vaccines at age 11 and 16 years, respectively. "In process" means the student has received at least one dose of the required immunizations and is waiting the minimum time interval to receive the additional doses. When a student is admitted who is in the process of completing the required minimum immunizations, the facility shall require each student to complete the required doses on schedule. A written statement from a public health nurse or private physician stating that the student is in process and containing a date when he/she must return for the next immunization shall be in the student's file. If a student does not produce documentation of additional immunizations per the schedule or show proof that they have applied for an exemption from the immunization requirements, they must be excluded from the facility until documentation is provided. The immunization series does not need to be restarted as each dose of vaccine counts toward the minimum requirements.
Children whose parents or guardians object based on religious tenets and practices of a recognized church or religious denomination may request an exemption from the state which must be renewed annually.
NOTE: Act 676 of 2019 requires public and private schools to create a post an annual report by December 1 of each year outlining the number and percentage of students who have an exemption to one or more vaccinations and the number and percentage of students who have neither proof of vaccination nor obtained an exemption as required by state law.
4. 6-18-1704, 6-18-1705, 6-18-1706. International Exchange Students—Requires an international student exchange visitor placement organization to comply with the rules and regulations outlined when placing a student in a public or private school in the state. An international student exchange visitor placement organization that proposes to place a foreign exchange student in a public or private school in this state shall submit an application for a certificate of registration with the Secretary of State by January 1 immediately preceding the next regular school year in which the organization proposes to place a foreign exchange student.
5. 6-15-509. Allows AAA Member Schools to Play a Home School Teams –AAA member schools may play a home school team if the home school team complies with the AAA rules.
6. 6-22-105. Registered Volunteers – Amends the Arkansas Registered Volunteers Program Act; defines regulations for extracurricular and interscholastic activity volunteers. (Applies to AAA schools)
7. Act 863, 2015. AAA Participation. Allows 9th grade private school students attending a AAA school that does not offer grades 10-12 to participate in spring athletics at their public school.
8. 6-15-510. AAA Participation – A home-school student may participate in interscholastic activities at a private school.
9. 20-15-802. Scoliosis Screening -- Private schools must institute as soon as possible a continuing scoliosis screening program in accordance with State Board of Health regulations; girls in the 6th and 8th grades and boys in the 8th grade (AR Dept. of Health). Rules, training information and forms can be found at https://www.healthy.arkansas.gov/programs-services/topics/school-nurses.
10. 6-18-1501. Eye and Vision Screening -- Beginning with the 2006-2007 school year, all children in pre-kindergarten (PK), kindergarten (K), grades one (1), two (2), four (4), six (6), and eight (8), and all transfer students shall receive an eye and vision screening. Rules, training information and forms can be found at https://www.healthy.arkansas.gov/programs-services/topics/school-nurses.
11. 6-18-701. Physical Examinations (includes hearing screening) -- The requirement applies to public school and charter schools. Each school district will provide for one or more physicians or nurses for the purpose of making physical examinations to detect contagious or infectious diseases or any defect of sight, hearing, or function or condition of health tending to prevent any pupil from receiving the full benefit of school work. Rules, training information and forms can be found at https://www.healthy.arkansas.gov/programs-services/topics/school-nurses.
12. 6-18-208. Student’s Social Security Numbers -- This act only applies to public schools. Nonpublic schools may want to follow to protect the privacy of their students. No public school shall use, display, release or print a student’s social security number or any part of the number on any report, identification card, or any document that will be made available or released to the public, a student, or a student’s parent without the written consent of the student’s parent.
13. 12-18-402. Mandated Reporting of Child Abuse --An individual listed as a mandated reporter (as related to education this would be all public and private school teachers, school officials, and employees) shall immediately notify the Child Abuse Hotline if he or she has reasonable cause to suspect that a child has been abuse or maltreated.
14. 17-1-105. Notification of Mandatory Reporters --Each board, commission, or other entity that licenses mandatory reporters of child abuse and neglect shall provide notice to each licensee concerning the online and web-based child abuse reporting program required under § 16-10-138.
15. 12-18-610. Child Abuse Investigations/ Access to School Records--Law enforcement officials and personnel conducting an investigation shall be allowed access to the child's public and private school records during the course of the child maltreatment investigation.
16. 12-18-204. Unlawful Restriction of Child Abuse Reporting--An employer or supervisor of an employee identified as a mandated reporter commits the offense of unlawful restriction of child abuse reporting if he or she: (A) Prohibits a mandated reporter from making a report to the Child Abuse Hotline; (B) Requires that a mandated reporter receive permission or notify a person before making a report to the Child Abuse Hotline; or (C) Knowingly retaliates against a mandated reporter.
17. 6-82-306. Arkansas Governor’s School Eligibility -- Eligibility provisions for the Arkansas Governor’s Scholars Program that the weight assigned to each individual criterion under this subdivision does not place a home-schooled, public school, or private school student at a disadvantage.
1. 6-19-108. Bus Driver Certification – A driver or operator of a school bus either privately or publicly owned is required to pass a series of tests to determine physical fitness and driving ability. In addition, all school bus drivers will receive 24 hours of pre-Inservice training and 3 hours of annually training in accordance with the regulations established by the Division of Public School Academic Facilities and Transportation.
2. 6-19-116 and 6-19-117. School Bus Safety Equipment -- All buses operated by public or private schools must meet certain safety standards including installation of a flashing white strobe light, a crossing gate, and appropriate mirrors.
3. 6-19-119. School Bus Passengers – All passengers are required to be seated while the school bus is in operation.
4. 5-39-214 and 5-73-119. School Bus Safety -- Restricts entry of a school bus by anyone over 18 who enters a school bus with criminal intent, disrupts driver, or refuses to leave is a Class B misdemeanor. It is a Class A felony to possess a deadly weapon and seize control of a bus operated by public or private school. It is against the law to possess a firearm on the property of any public or private school, on a school bus, or at a designated school bus stop.
5. 20-78-225. Child Care Facilities by DHS Child Safety Alarms --All agencies or child care facilities licensed by the DHS that transport children need to have child safety alarm devices installed on vehicles designed or used to transport more than seven passengers and one driver.
6. 27-51-1609 and 6-19-120. Wireless Telephone Use --- Restrictions in school zones -- (a) Except as provided under subsection (b) of this section, a driver of a motor vehicle shall not use a handheld wireless telephone while operating a motor vehicle when passing a school building or school zone during school hours when children are present and outside the building. (b) A driver of a motor vehicle who is passing a school building or school zone during school hours when children are present and outside the building may use a handheld wireless telephone while operating a motor vehicle for an emergency purpose. Bus drivers are prohibited from operating a school bus while using a cellular telephone.
V. School Property and Supplies
1. 6-16-105 United States Flag--Private school authorities are required to procure a suitable United States 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.
2. 6-21-606. Trespassing -- Persons disturbing or annoying private schools by their conduct or trespassing on school grounds during recess or while school is
in session are guilty of a violation.
3. 6-21-607. Loitering -- 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 violation and upon conviction shall be subject to a fine.
4. 12-13-109. Fire Drills--Private schools are required to have one fire drill each month and to keep all doors and exits unlocked (from the inside) during school hours.
5. 5-73-119, 5-73-306 and 5-73-322. Handguns -- A church that operates a private school, K-12, to allow a person who possesses a concealed handgun license to carry a concealed handgun on school property. No person under the age of 18 shall possess a handgun.
6. 20-78-228. Licensed Child Care Facilities requirement -- Requires licensed child care facilities to file a copy of the child care facility’s floor plan with local offices of emergency management or inter- jurisdictional offices of emergency management. (Act 1159)
7. Act 983. “Schoolhouse” -- Amends the definition of “schoolhouse,” which includes public or private schools or daycare facilities, as it applies to the laws regarding the operation of a retail liquor business.
8. Children's Internet Protection Act (CIPA) -- requires that K-12 schools use internet filters and implement other measures to protect children from harmful online content as a condition for federal funding.
VI. Children with Disabilities
1. 6-41-101. Funding for Handicapped -- Prior to expending funding for new programs to handicapped students the Department of Education will publish a notice of intent and invite proposals from special service providers.
2. 6-41-206. Handicapped Students -- 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 instruction and related services.
3. 6-41-901, 6-41-902, 6-41-903, 6-41-904, 6-41-905, 6-41-906, and 6-41-907. Succeed Scholarship Program– The Succeed Scholarship Program was established to provide a scholarship to a private school of choice for foster children or students with disabilities that have an individualized education program (IEP) or individualized service plan in accordance with the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. The rules and applications can be found on the ADE website: http://www.arkansased.gov/divisions/learning-services/special-education/policy-regulations/succeed-scholarship
4. 6-18-232. Dual Enrollment in Public-Private School --This bill allows a homeschool or private school student to enroll in an academic course at public school. In many curriculum areas, this practice is already being done, but this bill formalizes the process. An extension of the Code also prohibits a public school district or an open enrollment public charter school from charging a private school or a home school student for the cost of an endorsed concurrent enrollment course unless a public school district or open-enrollment public charter school student is also charged for the course and includes policy making provisions for admittance, participation, transportation option, course credit, and attendance.
5. 6-15-510. Homeschool Students Participate in Private School Activities --This allows homeschool students to patriciate in an extracurricular activity through a private school.
VIII. Higher Education
1. 6-60-202. Dual Enrollment – Qualified students may be enrolled in an institution of higher education as a part-time student upon receipt of a recommendation from the high school principal and by meeting the criteria for advanced placement.
2. 6-16-806. International Baccalaureate -- Allows a High School Course offered under the International Baccalaureate Diploma Program to be treated the same as an advanced placement course.
3. 6-85-206, 6-85-207, 6-85-208, 6-85-209, 6-85-210, and 6-85-212. Arkansas Academic Challenge Scholarship Program – Provides students from private schools in Arkansas that meet the requirements outlined in these sections with scholarship money to be used in participating Arkansas schools of higher education.
4. 6-85-211. Literacy tutoring--As an additional component to the Arkansas Academic Challenge Scholarship Program each applicant may volunteer to serve as a literacy tutor for a minimum of twenty (20) clock hours each semester in a public school or a faith-based educational institution serving students in prekindergarten through grade six (preK-6 and receive special training and college credit for the tutoring as determined by the institution of higher education where the recipient is enrolled.
1. AR Constitution Art. 14 Sec. 2 Public Aid for Private Schools. The Arkansas Constitution prohibits the use of money or property belonging to the public school fund or to the State for any other purpose.
2. 26-3-301, 12A and Article 16 Sec. 5 AR Constitution. Property Taxes – All dedicated church property, including the church building used as a place of worship, buildings used for administrative or missional purposes, the land upon which the church buildings are located, all church parsonages, any church educational building operated in connection with the church, including a family life or activity center, a recreation center, a youth center, a church association building, a day care center, a kindergarten, or a private church school shall be exempt from property taxes. This also includes 501 (c) (3) organizations.
3. 26-52-421. Ticket Sales -- Ticket sales for athletic events and interscholastic activities at public and private schools are exempt from sales tax.
4. 6-84-102, 6-84-103, 6-84-106, 6-84-107, 6-84-108, 6-84-109, 6-84-110, and 6-84-111. AR 529 Gift Plan - allows Arkansas Tax-Deferred Tuition Savings Programs (529 Plans) to not only be used for higher education but also to be used for the elementary or secondary public, private, or religious schools. The reference to private schools can be found in SB6, definition (9) “Higher education institution” means an eligible education institution as defined in 26 U.S.C. 235 (c) (3), as in effect on January 1, 2018. The 26 U.S.C. 235 (c) (3) code expanded the scope of “qualified higher education expenses” to include elementary or secondary public, private, or religious schools and the expansion was adopted by Arkansas in March, 2018.