• IND: School Ceremonies, Religious Observances, and Patriotic Exercises


    The Board believes that the District should give special recognition to national holidays. Therefore, the principal should encourage a discreet observance of these holidays, which have become a part of the American heritage. These observances may, in some instances, be in the form of a school assembly or as part of classroom work.

    The Board directs the administration to develop specific activities within each building, on or around Veterans Day, November 11, each year, to convey the meaning and significance of Veterans Day. The observance must be at least one hour long, except in buildings that schedule class periods of less than an hour. In those buildings, the observance must be at least one standard class period in length.

    Religious Holidays and Observances

    The following guidelines govern the observance of and teaching about religious holidays in the schools.

    • The public schools must be neutral in matters of religion. The schools must show no preference for one religion over another. They must refrain from promoting any religion or all religions; consequently, no school may conduct religious celebrations. “Religious celebration” is defined as:
      • A formal observance, including worship or religious services, whether or not conducted by a clergy member
      • The display of religious objects or symbols, except those that are integral parts of a short-term study in the curriculum, such as art, history, etc.
      • The presentation of religious music, except that such music is presented for its musical rather than its religious content. Songs or music programs that have significance for a particular religion should not be sung or performed in the school during the period which coincides with the community celebration of the events portrayed in the music. Festive songs that cannot be associated with a religious celebration are permitted.
    • A school cannot justify religious observances because most students or individuals in a given community approve of the practice. Additionally, a school cannot justify religious observance because individual students may absent themselves upon parental request.
    • The principal should evaluate a program or observance related to a religious holiday in theme or timing as to its purpose and effect. If the principal judges either the purpose or the effect to be religious rather than secular, the school should not undertake the activity.
    • The school should avoid any activity, display, or exhibit that promotes or gives its approval to religious matters.

    The Board has no policy that prevents, or otherwise denies participation in, constitutionally protected prayer in its schools.

    Patriotic Exercises

    The Board believes ceremonies and observances held in the schools promote one’s appreciation of country. Furthermore, the Board believes that the United States Flag symbolizes our democratic heritage, ideals, and freedom.

    The Board believes that saluting the Flag and reciting daily the Pledge of Allegiance help students to learn and to reinforce these principles. Therefore, the Board encourages all students, grades kindergarten through 12, to recite the Pledge of Allegiance during the school day at a time and manner specified by the principal.

    The Board recognizes that beliefs of some persons prohibit participation in the Pledge, the salute to the United States Flag, or other opening exercises; therefore, schools should excuse such persons from participation.

    On or around Constitution Day, September 17 each year, schools will provide educational programming about the U.S Constitution. 


    • Adopted: September 6, 2001
    • Amended: March 29, 2022

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