Private School Regulation


Delaware certifies private schools based on the school's own affirmation that it provides a regular and thorough instruction.

Registration/Licensing/Accreditation:Private schools satisfy the Delaware compulsory education requirements if they provide regular and thorough instruction in the subjects prescribed for the public schools in a manner suitable to children of the same age and stage of advancement. No certificate is submitted by private schools. Del. Code Ann. tit. 14, § 2703.

Recordkeeping/Reports:Disclosure of student records to non-school personnel is prohibited except in limited circumstances e.g. as required by law upon request of the pupil if over 14 years of age for the purpose of transfer, or at the request of the parent/guardian. Standard release forms may be prescribed by the Department of Public Instruction. Del. Code Ann. tit. 14, § 4111.

Private schools are required to report their enrollment, age of pupils and attendance to the State Board of Education annually before July 31. In addition, private schools must submit annually a statement of enrollment as of the last day in September on forms prescribed by the State Board of Education. Del. Code. Ann. tit. 14, § 2704. Private schools are required to maintain records as required by the child labor laws. Del. Code Ann. tit. 14, § 3506. See also Registration.

Curriculum:Under the Compulsory Education Statute, private schools must provide regular and thorough instruction in the subjects prescribed for the public schools of the state. Del. Code Ann. tit. 14, § 2703(a).

Delaware requires all private schools to provide regular courses in the United States Constitution, the Delaware Constitution and government, and the free enterprise system in grades eight through high school. The extent and content of courses is determined by the State Board of Education. Del. Code Ann. tit. 14, § 4103.

Delaware provides driver education instruction for students attending nonpublic high schools. The State Department of Education, with the consent of the State Board of Education, regulates and supervises the program including the qualifications of drivers education teachers, their salary, and school assignments. Del. Code Ann. tit. 14, § 127.

Special Education: The Delaware State Department of Education, with the consent of the State Board of Education, promulgates rules providing for the placement of "exceptional persons," i.e. "handicapped or gifted persons" in private schools. Del. Code Ann. tit. 14, §§ 3101, 3110(b).

The Mental Hygiene Clinic Department of Health and Social Services will examine private school children who are 2 or more years retarded when requested by the executive head of the school. Del. Code Ann. tit.16, § 5142(a).

Safety: All private schools are required to have at least 1 fire drill each month when school is in session and to keep all doors and exits unlocked during school hours. The State Fire Marshal, or his deputies, must inspect all schools as to fire exits and reasonable safety standards. Del. Code Ann. tit.16, § 6607(d)(e).

Private schools must set dates for fingerprinting students (grades k-9) and provide school facilities and personnel. The Superintendent of State Police will provide training for volunteers who are nominated to assist by the private schools for this purpose. Private school officials must notify parents/guardians of the date set for fingerprinting. Only pupils with signed authorization by parents/guardians may participate. Private schools must cooperate in setting up the program, but the fingerprinting of students is not mandated. Del. Code Ann. tit. 11, § 8526.

Eye protection devices must be used in private schools by teachers, students, employees, and visitors for activities taking place in eye protection areas, i.e. industrial arts classes, etc. Del. Code Ann. tit. 14, §§ 8301, 8302.

Transportation: The Delaware Constitution expressly allows the General Assembly to provide transportation for students of nonpublic, nonprofit elementary and high schools. Del. Const. Art X, § 5. The State Board of Education is charged with regulating nonpublic school transportation as public school transportation and limited to within the described boundaries of a public school district. Del. Code Ann. tit. 14, § 2905.

Parochial and private school buses must be inspected twice yearly to determine if they are safe, fit for operation and properly equipped in accordance with regulations adopted by the Department of Motor Vehicles. Del Code Ann. tit. 21, § 2145. Parochial and private schools may not permit any person to drive a school bus within the state without a valid school bus driver's license. Del. Code Ann. tit. 21, § 2708(a).

Home Schooling: A child who is home schooled in affiliation with a home school association or organization registered with the Department of Education complies with the compulsory attendance laws of the Delaware. If the child is home schooled and not affiliated with an approved home school association or organization, the child meets the requirements of compulsory attendance when the student?s instruction is accomplished under the auspices of the local school district superintendent of the district in which the student resides. The local superintendent determines in writing that the student is or will be provided with regular and thorough instruction in the subjects prescribed in the state schools suitable to the age of state of advancement of the child. Del. Code § 2703.

All persons conducting private schools, which includes home schools and home school associations, shall report to the Department of Education the enrollment, age of pupils, and attendance on or before July 31st of each year. All persons conducting private schools, home schools, and all home school associations must also submit a statement annually of enrollment on the last school day in September on such forms and in such manner as may be prescribed by the Department of Education. Del. Code Ann. § 2704.

Public Aid for Private Schools/Private School Students: No state funds raised for educational purposes can be used to aid any sectarian, church or denominational school. Del. Const. Art X, § 3.

All real or personal property used for school purposes where the tuition is free shall be exempt from taxation and assessment for public purposes. Del. Const. Art X, § 3.

Miscellaneous: The Governor may request private schools to observe Arbor and Bird Day as designed to advance the study of Arbor culture, the spirit of protection to birds and trees and appreciation for them. Del. Code Ann. tit. 29, § 4107.

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.