MUSKEGO, Wis. — The Muskego-Norway School District now requires parental permission before using a student’s preferred pronouns and name.
The Muskego-Norway School Board voted unanimously Monday night to approve the policy.
The district requires written or electronic authorization from a student’s legal guardian for changes to a student’s personal information in the district’s systems. This includes the student’s preferred name, pronouns, gender, and race classifications. The policy says information in certain records can only be modified with documentation proving a legal change.
Several parents and students showed up to Monday’s meeting with passionate opinions.
Heidi Edward is a Muskego parent of two students and has worked in education for over 20 years. She spoke against the policy.
“As a parent in the district, my child being called by a different name by their own request is not a lack of transparency,” Edward said. ” I see that as educational professionals following best practice of what we know saves the lives of our LGBTQIA students and helps them know they are loved and cared for…I would rather have my kids trust someone than feel they have no one.”
Corrie Houston, a Muskego resident, spoke in support of the policy.
“I want the school district to assist in my child’s education, not to oppose my principals or beliefs in how I should raise my child,” Houston said. “The stress and anxiety related to issues such as gender identity will continue to cause problems for a teenager the longer the child has to hide the issue from parents and delay seeking guidance and assistance from parents. Hiding a child’s problem or concerns from parents will delay resolution to the problem and extend the confusion a child may be experiencing.”
Below is the draft policy:
“A written/electronic authorization from a parent/legal guardian for a change of a student’s personal information, including preferred name/pronouns, gender, race classifications, etc, must be submitted to the District/school in order for the change to be effectuated and used within any of the operations of the district/school. Use of a commonly accepted shortened or abbreviated full name would be an exception to this administrative guideline (e.g. William to Will, Allison to Ally, James to Jim). The authorization will be reflected electronically in the District’s student information systems. Information in certain District records may only be modified with documentation proving a legal change to a student’s name or sex.”
Waukesha and Arrowhead have recently passed similar policies.