The Fairfax County School Board voted Thursday to require that high schools honor graduating seniors who have enlisted in the military and to give each school flexibility to decide how best to do that.
The move came as a disappointment to some parents, who had pushed the board to mandate that all schools recognize enlistees in the same way: with red, white and blue “honor cords” worn around the neck at graduation.
Instead, under the new policy adopted Thursday, principals at each school must work with student leaders to come up with a meaningful way to honor enlistees.
The board specified that at every school, recognition for enlistees — some of whom leave for basic training within days of graduation — should be commensurate with that afforded students bound for military academies or for college on ROTC scholarships.
Several board members said they hoped that giving students a say in crafting graduation ceremonies would be more likely to inspire reflection on enlistees’ commitment to serve than simply handing down an edict.