A Wisconsin school board approved a policy Monday that requires students to receive authorization from a parent for pronoun changes at school.
The Rice Lake School Board in Rice Lake, Wisconsin, passed a policy that requires parent permission for a student to change what pronouns and name they go by at school. Critics of the policy, including a former board member and students, said at the meeting that the policy threatens student’s mental health and safety if they are not ready to reveal their gender transition to their parents, according to WQOW News. (RELATED: Teacher Pressures School Employees To Hide Students’ Gender Transitions From Parents)
“If a student isn’t out to their family and at school is the only time that they’re respected and valued, taking that away and them not being able to get it back, it’s going to drive a lot of students to their breaking point,” Rice Lake High School sophomore Lexi Hostetler said at the meeting, according to WQOW News.
Under the policy, name changes are encouraged to be supported by a court order, which for minors requires parent or guardian approval. For name change requests that are not supported by a court order, parents must provide a notarized statement approving the name change.
“An adult student may file a sworn statement affirming that all of the following are true: the student has changed their legal name, the student consistently uses the new legal name for all official purposes, the student is not a registered sex offender who is prohibited by law from changing their name and the student has not changed their name for any fraudulent purpose or in order to interfere with the rights of others,” the policy stated.
Students older than 14-years-old must prove to the school that their name change is for official purposes and that they have already been using this name, the policy stated. Until a name and pronouns are officially changed, then educators are required to call students by what is listed on their official records.
“Even if a parent or guardian is supportive, coming out to them is just about the scariest person to come out to in the coming out process,” former Rice Lake School Board member Abbey Fischer said at the meeting, according to WQOW News. “There have been instances in our own district when a student came out to their parents and had a gun put to their head. That is a real circumstance in the school district with one of our students.”
The policy includes that no student may be discriminated against in any curricular or extracurricular activity on the basis of gender identity or gender status. The school board will now work on a plan for when and how the policy will be implemented into the school district, WQOW reported.
Rice Lake Area School Board did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.
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