Revising Board of Education Guidelines on Recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance

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Code of Virginia, § 22.1-202

Section 22.1-202 of the Code of Virginia addresses instruction in the history and principles of flags of United States and Virginia, the Pledge of Allegiance to the American flag, and guidelines to be developed by the Board of Education.* The section mandates the following:

  1. Instruction in the history and principles of the flag of the United States and the flag of the Commonwealth shall be given in one or more grades in every school division. The instruction shall include the Pledge of Allegiance and the appropriate etiquette and conventions for respecting the dignity and appropriate display of such flags.

  1. School boards must require the daily recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance in every classroom.

  1. All students are required to learn the Pledge of Allegiance and to demonstrate such knowledge.

  1. School boards must ensure that an American flag is in place in each classroom of the respective school division.

  1. School boards must determine the appropriate time during the school day for the recitation of the Pledge.

  1. School boards must provide appropriate accommodations for students who are unable to comply with these procedures due to a disability.

  1. School boards must apply their codes of conduct to disruptive behavior during the recitation of the Pledge in the same manner as provided for other circumstances of similar behavior.

  1. Students must either stand and recite the Pledge while facing the flag with their right hands over their hearts or in an appropriate salute if in uniform. No student can be compelled to recite the Pledge if he, his parent or legal guardian objects on religious, philosophical, or other grounds.

  1. Students who are exempt from reciting the Pledge must remain quietly standing or sitting at their desks while others recite the Pledge, not making any display that disrupts or distracts others who are reciting the Pledge.

  1. The Office of the Attorney General must intervene on behalf of local school boards and provide legal defense of these provisions.

  1. The Board of Education, in consultation with the Office of the Attorney General, must develop guidelines on constitutional rights and restrictions relating to the recitation of the Pledge in the public schools.

* See the Appendix for the complete text of the Code section.

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