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Petaluma City Schools |  BP  5127  Students

Graduation Ceremonies And Activities   

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High school graduation ceremonies shall be held to recognize those students who have successfully completed the required course of study, passed all proficiency standards including the high school exit examination, and thereby earned the right to receive a diploma. 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.

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.

Invocations and/or benedictions shall not be included in graduation ceremonies. Ceremonies or programs involving prayer for graduates shall not be sponsored by the school or district.

(cf. 1330 - Use of School Facilities)

(cf. 5145.2 - Freedom of Speech/Expression: Publications Code)

Disciplinary Considerations

In order to encourage high standards of student conduct and behavior, the principal may deny the privilege of participating in graduation ceremonies and/or activities in accordance with school rules. School rules shall ensure that the student and parent/guardian receive written notice of the privilege(s) to be denied, the grounds for such denial and the means whereby a student may appeal this decision.

Honors and Awards

To honor superior academic achievement, graduation ceremonies shall include recognition of a valedictorian and salutatorian. The Superintendent or designee shall establish procedures that ensure a fair determination of the students who have achieved the highest grade point average in the graduating class. If a virtual tie exists, the principal may honor more than one valedictorian and/or salutatorian.

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

The Superintendent or designee shall identify other school-sponsored awards which may be given during graduation exercises. A separate awards program may be held to recognize graduating students receiving other school and nonschool awards.

(cf. 5126 - Awards for Achievement)

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:


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

51400-51403 Elementary school diploma

51410 Diplomas: no indication of intellectual classification

51411 Residence as condition for graduation; prohibition

51412 Standards of proficiency

56376 Graduation - special education


Harris v. Joint School District #241 (1994, 9th Cir.) No. 93-35839

Jones v. Clear Creek Independent School District (1992, 5th Cir.) 977 F.2d 963

Lee v. Weisman, (1992) 112 S.Ct. 2649

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

Mifflin County School District v. Stewart (PA. Cmwlth. 1986) 503 A.2d 1012, 30 Educ. L.R. 403

Fowler v. Board of Education of the Hickory Administrative School Unit (1978) 448 F. Supp. 497

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

Management Resources:


0615.89 Granting credit for passing GED, SPB:88/89-11


adopted: June 25, 2002 Petaluma, California