Fairfax County’s school board will decide next week whether and how high schools should be required to recognize graduating seniors who enlist in the military.

One proposal on the table, first brought forth by Elizabeth Schultz (Springfield), would mandate that high school recognize each military-bound senior with a red, white and blue “honor cord” to be worn during graduation ceremonies.

“The thing we’re trying to do here is recognize the commitment these young men and women have made,” Schultz said in an interview.

“If they’re willing to say, ‘You know what, I’m ready to serve’ — That’s somebody stepping up to the line who has demonstrably acquired some critical thinking, strategic planning and leadership skills.”

Elizabeth Schultz of the Fairfax County School Board is pushing to require honor cords to recognize all seniors who enlist in the military. (Courtesy ELIZABETH L. SCHULTZ)

But some board members and principals have spoken against it, saying that each school has its own graduation traditions and needs flexibility to organize ceremonies accordingly.

Some schools currently use honor cords — which are colored pieces of rope worn around the neck — to recognize academic achievements, such as membership in an honor society. Others don’t use them at all.

At a work session in February, the board decided to compromise and require schools to recognize military enlistees in a meaningful, outward way.

Schultz said that’s too vague and asked her colleagues to reconsider the issue at a televised Thursday-night meeting. (Work sessions, like the one at which this issue was first discussed, are neither televised nor recorded.) The board will vote March 8.

“Meaningful way – what does that mean? Does that mean an asterisk in the graduation ceremony handout? Does that mean hanging a banner with their names on it?” Schultz said. “One person’s meaningful is another person’s insignificant.”

What do you think? Readers from outside Fairfax: How do your districts recognize graduates who are headed to boot camp instead of college?