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Novato USD |  BP  5127  Students

Graduation Ceremonies And Activities   

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High school graduation ceremonies shall be held to recognize those students who have earned a diploma by successfully completing the required course of study, satisfying district standards, and passing any required assessments. The Board of Education believes that these students deserve a public celebration that recognizes the significance of their achievement and encourages them to continue the pursuit of learning throughout their lives.

(cf. 6011 - Academic Standards)

(cf. 6143 - Courses of Study)

(cf. 6146.1 - High School Graduation Requirements)

(cf. 6162.52 - High School Exit Examination)

At the discretion of the Superintendent or designee, a student who will complete graduation requirements during the summer may participate in graduation exercises without receiving his/her diploma. When the requirements have been satisfied, a diploma shall be sent to the student.

High school students who have passed the California High School Proficiency Examination or the General Education Development Test must also meet district graduation requirements in order to participate in graduation ceremonies.

(cf. 6146.2 - Certificate of Proficiency/High School Equivalency)

Invocations, prayers or benedictions shall not be included in graduation ceremonies. The school or district shall not sponsor other ceremonies or programs for graduates that include prayer.

(cf. 1330 - Use of School Facilities)

(cf. 5145.2 - Freedom of Speech/Expression)

Disciplinary Considerations

In order to encourage high standards of student conduct and behavior, the principal may deny a student the privilege of participating in graduation ceremonies and/or activities in accordance with school rules. School rules shall ensure that prior to denial of the privilege(s), the student, and where practicable his/her parent/guardian, is made aware of the grounds for such denial and that the student is given an opportunity to respond to the proposed denial. If privilege(s) are to be denied, the student and parent/guardian shall receive written notice of the denied privilege and the means whereby he/she may appeal this decision.

Students who are suspended for drug and/or alcohol offenses, as defined in "Grounds for Suspension or Expulsion" in the Administrative Rules and Regulations of Board Policy 5131.6 Alcohol and Other Drugs, shall be excluded from all extracurricular activities, including athletics and graduation, for up to 40 school/participation days on their first and second offense during the student's enrollment in any district school.

(cf. 5125.2 - Withholding Grades, Diploma or Transcripts)

(cf. 5144 - Discipline)

(cf. 6161.2 - Damaged or Lost Instructional Materials)

(cf. 5131.6 - Alcohol and Other Drugs)

Honors and Awards

To honor superior academic achievement, graduation ceremonies shall include recognition of valedictorian(s) and salutatorian(s). The Superintendent or designee shall establish procedures that ensure a fair determination of the valedictorian(s) and salutatorian(s).

(cf. 5121 - Grades/Evaluation of Student Achievement)

(cf. 5131 - Conduct)

Any graduating student who has completed basic training and is an active member of any branch of the Untied States Armed Forces may, at her/his option, wear her/his military dress uniform at the ceremony. (Education Code 35183.3)

Foreign exchange students may receive honorary diplomas during the graduation ceremony. (Education Code 51225.5)

(cf. 6145.6 - International Exchange)

Elementary/Middle School Promotion Exercises

The Board desires that each elementary and middle school provide age-appropriate promotion exercises to recognize students who have completed the school's course of study.

Legal Reference:


35183.3 Graduation ceremonies; military dress uniforms

38119 Lease of personal property; caps and gowns

48904 Liability of parent or guardian; withholding of grades, diplomas, transcripts

51225.5 Honorary diplomas; foreign exchange students

51410-51412 Diplomas


Cole v. Oroville Union High School District, (2000, 9th Cir.) 228 F.3d 1092

Santa Fe Independent School District v. Doe, (2000) 530 U.S. 290

Lee v. Weisman, (1992) 505 U.S. 577

Sands v. Morongo Unified School District, (1991) 53 Cal. 3d 863

Lemon v. Kurtzman, (1971) 403 U.S. 602

Management Resources:


California Department of Education, High School:


adopted: August 4, 2009 Novato, California

revised: December 7, 2010