topleft >  Services >  Governance Technology > 

Los Angeles COE |  BP  5127  Students

Graduation Ceremonies And Activities   

arrow Previous bar Next arrow

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 LACOE standards, and passing any required assessments. The County Board believes that these students deserve the privilege of 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)

(cf. 6146.4 - Differential Graduation and Competency Standards for Students with Disabilities)

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

High school students who have passed a high school equivalency test or the California High School Proficiency Examination must also meet LACOE 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 LACOE shall not sponsor other ceremonies or programs for graduates that include prayer.

The school or LACOE shall not direct invocations, prayers, or benedictions at graduation ceremonies.

(cf. 1330 - Use of School Facilities)

(cf. 5145.2 - Freedom of Speech/Expression)

Honors and Awards

To honor superior academic achievement, graduation ceremonies will include recognition of valedictorian(s) and salutatorian(s). Valedictorian(s) and salutatorian(s) will be selected based on established criteria and procedures that use multiple measures of academic performance.

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

The County Superintendent or designee will identify other school-sponsored awards that may be given during graduation exercises. A separate awards program may be held to recognize graduating students receiving other school and non-school awards.

(cf. 5126 - Awards for Achievement)

Conduct at Graduation Ceremonies

Any student participating in a graduation ceremony will comply with LACOE policies and regulations pertaining to student conduct.

(cf. 5131 - Conduct)

The County Superintendent or designee may require graduating students to wear ceremonial attire, such as cap and gown, at the ceremony.

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

Students shall be permitted to wear tribal regalia or recognized objects of religious or cultural significance as an adornment to the customary ceremonial attire, as long as the adornment does not cause a substantial disruption of, or material interference with, the graduation ceremony. (Education Code 35183.1)

Students who desire to wear such adornments shall seek permission from the school site principal or designee at least 14 days before the graduation ceremony.

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. Prior to denial of the privilege, the student, and where practicable their parent/guardian, shall be made aware of the grounds for such denial and shall be given an opportunity to respond. If a privilege is to be denied, the student and parent/guardian shall receive written notice of the denied privilege and the means whereby he/she may appeal the decision.

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

(cf. 5144 - Discipline)

Commencement Ceremony

1. LACOE pupils (except those from I-Poly or LACHSA) who have earned either a diploma or any of the certificates described in LACOE policy or regulations will be eligible to participate in a commencement ceremony.

2. Pupils from the Division of Special Education (DSE) may, in the alternative, participate at a Principal Administrative Unit (PAU) site ceremony or commencement/graduation ceremony at their host district high school.

3. Pupils from LACHSA and I-Poly who have earned either a diploma or a Certificate of High School Curriculum Completion will be eligible to participate in their own respective commencement ceremonies.

4. The ceremony programs will list pupils by their specific diploma or certificate they will receive.

During the graduation ceremony, a student may be removed from the ceremony for conduct that is disruptive or that poses a risk to safety. High school seniors shall be notified of this policy in advance, through the student handbook or other means, and shall be required to acknowledge receiving it.

Legal Reference:


35183.3 Graduation ceremonies; military dress uniforms

35183.1 tribal regalia or recognized object of religious/cultural significance

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:


Pupil Fees, Deposits and Other Charges, Fiscal Management Advisory 17-01, July 28, 2017


Guidance on Constitutionally Protected Prayer in Public Elementary and Secondary Schools, February 2003


California Department of Education, High School:


adopted: June 18, 2019 Downey, California