Should High Schoolers Be Prosecuted for Skipping Religious Instruction?

Feb 1, 2017

In Utah, Idaho, Arizona, and some parts of California, high school students who belong to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, more commonly called the Mormon Church, can enroll in released-time religious instruction called Seminary. For decades many of those students have looked upon Seminary attendance as optional, sometimes skipping classes to study, grab a snack, or even take a nap. The LDS Seminary faculty in Syracuse, Utah is threatening to take such students to court.

An email sent by the faculty to parents announced that “any student caught at the high school during their seminary hour [would] receive a Trespassing Citation.” As Syracuse police detective Erin Behm told Salt Lake City NBC affiliate KSL, “A trespassing citation works just like any other citation. You have to go to the court and, most likely, pay a fine, talk to the judge about it.” The possibility that students would be prosecuted for skipping religious instruction is outlined in the documents signed by students and parents when the latter register for the Seminary program.