Private School Regulation
In Utah, local school boards determine what constitutes a
regularly established private school. Opinion of the Attorney General,
November 23, 1977.
Registration/Licensing/Accreditation: Local school boards
are responsible for determining what constitutes a regularly established
private school. Opinion of the Attorney General, November 23, 1977.
schools must retain official certificates of immunization for every
student as part of the individual's permanent school record. The
Department of Health provides official certificate forms. Utah Code
Ann. § 53A-11-304.
Private schools have a duty to cooperate with employers by issuing
age certificates or lists of students or recent students showing
their dates of birth according to school records. Utah Code Ann. § 34-23-209.
In September and March of each year, accredited nonpublic schools
must provide the County Clerk an estimate of the number of enrolled
students who are 18 years of age or who will be 18 within 6 months.
The County Clerk will provide sufficient by-mail voter registration
forms, free of charge, to be disseminated to the students. Utah Code
Ann. § 20A-2-302; 53A-3-402.5.
Curriculum: Private school students may enroll
in public schools for dual enrollment purposes and participate in
any academic activity subject to the same rules applicable to full-time
students. Utah Code Ann. § 53A-11-102.5.
School districts maintaining driver education classes must allow
private school pupils, grades 9-12, to enroll in driver education
courses at the most accessible public school. Enrollment is on the
same terms and conditions as apply to public school students. Utah
Code Ann. § 53A-13-203.
Special Education: The State Director of Special
Education is responsible for the general supervision of all public
programs offered through private agencies for students with disabilities
and has a duty to cooperate with private schools and agencies concerned
with education and training students with disabilities. Utah Code
Ann. § 53A-15-302.
Health: Students may not attend private K-12 schools
without certification of immunization unless exempted for personal,
medical, or religious reasons. Utah Code Ann. §§ 53A-11-301;
Immunization Records, see Recordkeeping/Reports.
Private K-12 schools may administer medication to students if policies
and procedures are adopted in consultation with the Department of
Health. The policies must provide for the designation and training
of employees who administer medication, proper identification and
safekeeping of medication, and the maintenance of records of administration.
Medication may be administered only if the parent/guardian has provided
a written request and the student's health professional has signed
a statement describing the method, amount, and time schedule for
the administration necessary during school hours. School employees
in substantial compliance with the physician's orders are not civilly
or criminally liable for a student's adverse reaction to the medicine
or discontinuing the medicine following actual notice to the parent/guardian.
Utah Code Ann. § 53A-11-601.
Private school administrators have a duty to report the name and
address of a person suspected of having a communicable disease, and
the facts relating to the case, to the Department of Health. Utah
Code Ann. § 26-6-6.
Local health departments have the statutory authority to close private
schools when necessary to protect the public health. Utah Code Ann. § 26A-1-114.
It is illegal to smoke or use tobacco on the property of a private
elementary or secondary school with the exception that adults may
smoke in designated areas during nonschool hours. Utah Code Ann. § 76-10-106.
Safety: Utah restricts the establishment of state
liquor stores, package agencies, restaurants and private clubs serving
liquor, and on-premise beer retailers in the proximity of private
schools. Utah Code Ann. §§ 32A-2-101; 32A-3-101; 32A-4-101;
The Utah Fire Prevention Board establishes the minimum standards
for the prevention of fire, the protection of life and property against
fire, and panic in private schools. Utah Code Ann. § 53-7-204.
Law enforcement agencies have a duty to notify the administrator
of a private school if an employee has been arrested for a controlled
substance or sex offense. Utah Code Ann. § 53-5-218.
Private schools may require potential employees/volunteers to submit
to a criminal background check through the Law Enforcement and Technical
Services Division as a condition for employment or appointment and,
where reasonable cause exists, schools may require an existing employee
or volunteer to submit to a criminal background check. Only job-related
convictions should be considered by the school. The private school
must pay the cost unless the applicant has passed an initial review;
is one of a pool of five candidates or less; and, has not been the
subject of a criminal background check during the preceding two years.
If an individual is denied employment based on the background check,
the person has a right to written notice of the reasons for the denial
and an opportunity to respond. Utah Code Ann. § 53A-3-410.
Possession of a weapon, explosive, flammable material, or other
dangerous material in a private elementary or secondary school building,
grounds, or area used for a school activity is a criminal offense
unless approved by a responsible school official or used in an approved
activity. Utah Code Ann. § 53A-3-502.
Utah's criminal code provides enhanced penalties for the use of
a firearm in an offense committed on or about school premises. Utah
Code Ann. § 76-3-203.2.
Anyone who knowingly assaults an employee or volunteer at a private
school when the victim is acting within the scope of his employment
is guilty of a class A misdemeanor. Utah Code Ann. § 76-5-102.3.
A person who enters or remains on private school property and is
intent to cause harm, commit a crime, is reckless as to the safety
of others, or enters or remains without authorization if notice against
entry has been given, commits a misdemeanor of criminal trespass
on school property. Utah Code Ann. § 53A-3-503. A person who
is asked to leave by a school official and remains to disrupt an
activity of a private school commits a misdemeanor. Utah Code Ann. § 76-9-106.
A teacher who has committed a sexual offense against a minor child
and is ineligible for certification, may not be employed or permitted
to volunteer in any position in a private school where the teacher
would be in close proximity to minor children or interact with minor
children. Utah Code Ann. § 53A-6-104.
The Administrator of Teacher Certification may provide a private
school administrator with information in his possession which is
significant in evaluating the employment of a current or prospective
employee. Utah Code Ann. § 53A-6-106.
Private school students who participate in industrial education,
physics laboratory, and chemistry laboratory activities that may
endanger one's vision, must wear quality eye protective devices.
Utah Code Ann. § 53A-13-103.
Transportation: The Utah Department of Transportation
regulates the design and operation of school buses privately owned
for use by private schools. Private schools and their employees are
subject to the regulations. Utah Code Ann. § 41-6-115.
The Highway Patrol safety inspects biannually all school buses operated
by private schools for the transportation of students. Utah Code
Ann. § 53-8-211.
Public Aid for Private Schools/Private School Students: The
Utah Constitution prohibits the appropriation of public money or
property for religious instruction or for the support of any ecclesiastical
establishment. Utah Const. Art. 1, Sec. 4. In addition, the Utah
Constitution further prohibits appropriations by the state and its
political subdivisions for the direct support of any religiously
controlled school. Utah Const. Art. X, Sec. 9.
Miscellaneous: A private or parochial school may
exempt itself from the state prohibition of corporal punishment by
adopting a school policy and notifying the parent/guardians of the
exemption. Utah Code Ann. § 53A-11-802.
The Superintendent of Public Instruction includes applicable private
school data in his annual report to the Governor and the Legislature
on the public school system. Utah Code Ann. § 53A-1-301.