Ceremonies and Observances 6-16

School Board of the City of Virginia Beach
Policy 6-16


Ceremonies and Observances

  1. Generally

    The School Board encourages the observance throughout the school division of such special days and occurrences as are proclaimed by the Governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia and the President of the United States. Such observances should be of educational value to the students and in acceptable taste.

  2. Flags

    In accordance with applicable law and guidance, the flags of the United States of America and the Commonwealth shall be displayed and handled at each school.

  3. Minute of Silence

    In accordance with applicable law and guidance, The Superintendent shall ensure the daily observation of one minute of silence in each classroom of the school division. During such one minute periods of silence, the teacher responsible for each classroom shall take care that all students remain seated and silent and make no distracting display to the end that each pupil may, in the exercise of his or her individual choice, meditate, pray, or engage in any other silent activity which does not interfere with, distract, or impede other pupils in the like exercise of individual choice.

  4. Commencements/Other Ceremonies

    The First Amendment of the United States Constitution, as interpreted by caselaw, requires school officials to be neutral in their treatment of religion showing neither favoritism toward nor hostility against religion. Accordingly, the School Board and School Administration may not mandate, organize or sponsor religious activities or ceremonies. However, religious activity that is initiated by private individuals will be protected in keeping with current caselaw and directives of the United States Department of Education and the Virginia Board of Education.

  5. Pledge of Allegiance

    In accordance with the Code of Virginia, the Superintendent shall ensure the daily recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance in each classroom of the school division and shall ensure that the flag of the United States is in place in each such classroom. The Code of Student Conduct shall apply to disruptive behavior during the recitation of the Pledge in the same manner as provided for other circumstances of such behavior; however, no student shall be compelled to recite the Pledge if he, his parent or legal guardian objects on religious, philosophical, or other grounds to his participating in this exercise. Students who are thus exempt from reciting the Pledge shall remain quietly standing or sitting at their desks while others recite the Pledge and shall make no display that disrupts or distracts others who are reciting the Pledge. The principal shall provide appropriate accommodations for students who are unable to comply with the procedures described herein due to disability.

  6. Posting of “In God We Trust”

    The Superintendent shall ensure that copies of the Bill of Rights of the Constituion of the United States and the statement, “In God We Trust”, the National Motto, enacted by Congress in 1956, are posted in a conspicuous place in each schools for students to read.

Implementation of Constitution Day and Citizenship

The seventeenth day of September shall annually be recognized as Constitution and Citizenship Day (to be referred to as “Constitution Day”) and the third week of September will be observed as Civics Education Week. To ensure that all students reflect upon the importance of active citizenship, recognize the enduring strength of the United States Constitution, and reaffirm commitment to the rights and obligations of citizenship in the United States of America, the Superintendent shall ensure that appropriate observations and teachings are conducted in all schools.

Code of Virginia §2.2-3315, as amended. Citizenship Day and Constitution Week

Code of Virginia § 22.1-133, as amended. Flags.

Code of Virginia § 22.1-201, as amended. Study of documents of Virginia history and United States Constitution.

Code of Virginia § 22.1-202, as amended. Instruction in history and principles of flags of United States and Virginia; pledge of allegiance to American flag; guidelines developed by the board.

Code of Virginia § 22.1-203, as amended. Daily observance of one minute of silence.

Code of Virginia § 22.1-203.1, as amended. Student initiated prayer.

Virginia Board of Education Guidelines Recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance (2001)

Virginia Department of Education Superintendent’s Memo. 122 (2000) Guidance on Constitutionally Protected Prayer in Public Schools and Written Certification Requirement.

House Joint Resolution No. 627 (2007) designating the third week in September as Civics Education Week in Virginia.

United States Department of Education Guidance on Constitutionally Protected Prayer in Public Elementary and Secondary Schools (2/7/03), as amended.

Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 as amended by the Every Student Succeeds Act of 2015, as amended.

Acts of Assembly 2002 Chapter 902 (2003)

Adopted by School Board: November 16, 1976
Amended by School Board: February 1, 1977
Amended by School Board: August 21, 1990
Amended by School Board: July 16, 1991
Amended by School Board: July 13, 1993 (Effective August 14, 1993)
Amended by School Board: October 3, 2000
Amended by School Board: August 21, 2001
Amended by School Board: June 6, 2006
Amended by School Board: February 21, 2017