Private School Regulation


Connecticut places the duty to instruct a child or cause him to be instructed on the parents. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 10-184.

Recordkeeping/Reports: Private schools must file student attendance reports and "such reports and returns concerning the school . . . as are required from boards of education concerning the public schools. . . ." No report concerning finances is required. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 10-188.

Nonpublic schools must implement a policy for reporting complaints related to school transportation safety and maintain a written record of complaints received. Within 30 days after the end of the school year nonpublic schools must provide a copy of the written record of complaints to the Commissioner of Motor Vehicles. Nonpublic schools must also make written reports to the Commissioner of any accident involving a motor vehicle and a student pedestrian near a designated school bus stop within 10 days of the incident. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 10-221c.

Instruction in English: The English language is to be the medium of instruction in private elementary schools except in bilingual or bicultural programs for pupils who by reason of foreign birth, ancestry or otherwise, experience difficulty in reading and understanding English. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 10-17.

Private schools may with the approval of the state board of education establish bilingual and bicultural programs of study in which language other than English are predominately spoken to enable children to become efficient in English. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 10-17a.

Teacher Certification: Although teaching certificates are not required for nonpublic school teachers, teachers at nonpublic schools approved by the State Board of Education may obtain Provisional and Professional Educator Certificates. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 10-145b.

Curriculum: Connecticut parents have the duty to instruct their children or cause them to be instructed in reading, writing, spelling, English grammar, geography, arithmetic, and United States history and in citizenship. Instruction may occur outside the public school if "the child is elsewhere receiving equivalent instruction in the studies taught in the public schools." Conn. Gen. Stat. § 10-184.

Private elementary and high schools, whose property is tax exempt, must provide instruction in United States history, government, and the duties and responsibilities of citizenship. Graduation from such schools is contingent on familiarity with these subjects. The state board of education will make available samples of appropriate educational materials. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 10-18.

Private secondary schools may contract with licensed driving schools approved by the Commissioner of Motor Vehicles for behind-the-wheel instruction in driver education programs. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 10-24d.

Special Education: Connecticut publicly places children with special education needs in approved private schools when the educational needs of the child cannot be met by public school arrangements. Conn. Gen. Stat. §10-76d(d), (g); § 10-76b(a). The local or regional boards of education also provide transportation to and from the residence of the special needs child. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 10-76d(e).

Health: Children enrolled in nonpublic schools must be protected by adequate immunizations against diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus, polioneyelitis, measles, mumps, rubella, and hemophilus influenza. Certain exemptions apply, e.g. a child whose parents object to immunizations on religious grounds is exempt. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 10-204a.

A school nurse, other licensed nurse, principal or teacher of a school may administer medicine to any student in accordance with the written order of a licensed physician or dentist and the written authorization of the child's parent/guardian. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 10-212a.

Each schoolhouse, i.e. buildings or premises in which instruction is given to at least ten pupils at one time, must be kept in a clean and sanitary condition. Schoolhouses must provide adequate toilets, handwashing facilities, and safe and adequate water supply. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 10-203.

Every private and parochial school must maintain toilet accommodations, water supply drinking cups, washing facilities, heating, lighting and ventilation in sanitary condition. Public Health Code Regulation § 19-13-830.

Communications made by a student to a professional employee at a nonpublic primary or secondary school concerning alcohol or drug abuse is privileged communication if the employee chooses to make it so. An employee who acts in good faith is immune from any criminal or civil liability. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 10-154a.

Safety: Buildings and facilities of public service are required to be inspected by the local fire marshal at least once a year and as necessary. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 29-305.

Each story above the first story of a schoolhouse building must have at least two remote means of free and unobstructed egress by enclosed stairways, properly segregated from the corridors at all floor levels, or approved fire escapes outside. Stairways, fire escapes and passageways must be constructed and maintained in accordance with the fire safety regulations. New school buildings, conversions, and additions to school buildings must be made in conformity with the fire safety code. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 29-389.

Nonpublic school teachers, principals, and guidance counselors are required to report suspected child abuse. If a school employee is suspected of the abuse, the supervisory agent of the nonpublic school is responsible for notifying the parents and making the necessary report with the appropriate authorities. Conviction of abuse may lead to revocation of an individual's teacher certification. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 17a-10(b), (c), (f).

All private elementary and secondary schools must comply with state regulations concerning eye protection devices in laboratories and workshops. Conn. Gen. Stat. §§10-214a-1 through 10-214a-3.

Connecticut law outlines when physical force, otherwise criminal, is justifiable when exercised by a teacher or other person entrusted with the care and supervision of a minor for school purposes. For example, a teacher's physical force is justifiable to protect him- or herself or others from immediate physical injury or to obtain possession of a dangerous instrument but not to merely maintain discipline. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 17a-101.

Professional employees of a nonpublic school are required to turn over physical evidence indicating a crime has been or is being committed to school officials or law enforcement officials. The employee is not required to disclose the name of the student from whom the evidence was obtained. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 10-154a.

Transportation: When a majority of students attending a nonpublic school are residents of Connecticut, the municipality or school district must provide the nonpublic school students the same transportation services provided to K-12 students attending public schools. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 10-281. Transportation services for pupils attending private schools outside the school district is optional. Conn. Gen. Stat. §§ 10-280a; 10-277.

See Recordkeeping.

Home Schooling: The State Board of Education acknowledges the right of parents to instruct their children at home as an alternative to public school attendance, and advises local and regional boards of education where such child would otherwise be attending public school to acknowledge home instruction when the parent or person having control of a child between the ages of seven and 16 is able to show that the child is receiving equivalent instruction in the studies taught in the public schools. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 10-184. Local boards must determine whether or not such a child is receiving equivalent instruction as required under Conn. Gen. Stat. § 10-220.

It making the decision as to whether or not the child is receiving equivalent instruction, it is recommended that the local board of education observe the following procedures: The parent should file within 10 days of beginning home instruction and for each subsequent year, a notice of intent to home school. A complete notice of intent provides basic program information including name of teacher, subjects to be taught, days of instruction, and teacher?s methods of assessment. By filing the notice of intent, the parent assumes the full responsibility for the education of their child. An annual portfolio review will be held with parents and school officials to determine if instruction in the required courses has been given.

Public Aid for Private Schools/Private School Students: The "School Fund," established to provide a perpetual fund for the support of public schools, cannot be diverted to any other use. Conn. Const. Art. 8, Sec. 4. The School Fund cannot be used for the transportation of private school children. Snyder et al v. Town of Newton et al., 161 A.2d 770 (1960).

Municipalities may lend money to nonpublic schools located within the municipality for the construction or renovation of physical facilities used exclusively for educational purposes. Conn. Gen. Stat. §§ 7-121a; 10-289f.

Connecticut permits local or regional boards of education to loan textbooks to students attending nonpublic schools within the district. Parents/guardians or nonpublic school students may borrow textbooks currently in use in the public school free of charge. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 10-228a.

Nonpublic schools may participate in the school breakfast, lunch, and other feeding programs as regulated by the state board of education and governed by federal laws. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 10-215a and b.

Nonpublic school students are eligible for health services that are currently offered to public school students by the local district. "Health services" include the services of a school physician, school nurse, and dental hygienist. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 10-217a.

Connecticut passed a demonstration scholarship program to provide parents/guardians an opportunity to enroll their children in public or private schools in 1972. Participating schools needed to meet all educational, fiscal, health and safety standards required by law and other specified criteria including nondiscrimination based on race, color or economic status. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 10-239a-b. However, the initiative was never funded.

All Connecticut educators are eligible to participate in programs of professional development offered by the Connecticut Department of Education in cooperation with the regional education service centers. Participation fees are charged. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 10-220a(c).

Certified teachers at private special education facilities approved by the Commissioner of Education may receive training to supervise, train, and evaluate student teachers and serve as mentors for beginning teachers. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 10-22a(d).

Nonpublic schools may participate in the programs and services offered by the regional education centers. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 10-66d. Nonpublic schools pay a prorated share of the costs of any program or service to which they subscribe. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 10-66e.

Miscellaneous: Private high schools receiving state funds must provide the same directory information and on-campus recruiting opportunities to representatives of the national armed forces and state armed services as offered to nonmilitary recruiters or commercial concerns. Governing boards of these private schools must establish a written uniform policy for the treatment of all recruiters. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 10-221b.

Noncustodial parents have a right to student academic records unless otherwise ordered by the court. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 46b-56(e).

Nonpublic schools must conduct an educational evaluation for any student named in a Family with Service Needs Petition based on habitual truancy. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 10-198a.

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.