Every student has the right to be addressed by a name and pronoun that corresponds to the student’s gender identity. Regardless of whether a transgender or gender nonconforming student has legally changed their name, schools will allow such students to use a chosen name. It is recommended that school staff privately ask transgender or gender nonconforming students how they want to be addressed in class and in communication with the student’s parents or guardians.

Some youth may feel most comfortable being addressed by gender-neutral pronouns such as “they” or “ze” or just referred to by their names (without pronouns). If the student has previously been known as school by a different birth name, the principal will direct school personnel to use the student’s chosen name and appropriate pronouns.

Students have the right to be addressed by a name and pronoun corresponding to the gender identity they consistently assert at school. Students are not required to obtain a court order and/or gender change or to change their official records as a prerequisite to being addressed by the name and pronoun that corresponds to their gender identity.

In addition to the student’s legal name and biological sex, the student’s requested name and gender shall be added in the Student Information Management system (SIM) in order to inform teachers of the name and pronoun to use when addressing the student. Information about the student’s legal name and biological sex shall be kept confidential in the legal alert field in IMPACT.

This directive excludes inadvertent slips or honest mistakes in the use of preferred names or pronouns. However, the intentional or persistent refusal by students or school staff to respect a student’s gender identity (for example, intentionally referring to the student by a name or pronoun that does not correspond to the student’s gender identity) is a violation of these Guidelines, the Student Code of Conduct, and Comprehensive Non-Discrimination, Title IX and Sexual Harassment Policy. Such violations will result in appropriate consequences for offending staff and students.

The matter of determining which name and pronoun to use in referring to a transgender student may be one of the first that schools must address in their efforts to create an environment in which that student feels safe and supported.

Transgender students often choose to change the name assigned to them at birth to a name that is associated with their gender identity. As with most other issues involved with creating a safe and supportive environment for transgender students, the best course is to engage the student, and possibly the parent, with respect to name and pronoun use, and agree on a plan to reflect the individual needs of each student to initiate that name and pronoun use within the school.

The plan also could include when and how this is communicated to students and their parents. For those students who have been attending a school and undergo gender transition while attending the same school, it is important to develop a plan for initiating use of the chosen name and pronouns consistent with the student’s gender identity.