New Policy Allows Students to Officially Change Names on School Documents


By Charlotte Herbert, Staff Writer

Administrators have just implemented a policy where students can officially change their name on their student documents. Up until now, transgender students have had to face a constant reminder of their dead names on Canvas, Infinite Campus and their IDs. To combat this directly, the administration put this plan into action to help trans students feel more comfortable and accepted at school. Now upon request, students can go to their counselors and set up a meeting with Student Services to start the process of changing their name in the school’s online database, which transfers to all other school-run services and documents.

“At Niles West, we saw that students that are either transitioning their gender or had fully transitioned needed extra support to not only express themselves here at school, but for everyone to abide by their chosen name and genders,” school counselor Alicia Funes said.

This policy has caused trans kids to have a more positive association with the school, including sophomore Lotus Barnes, who was one of the first students to take advantage of the policy.

“It feels so much better to not see my dead name everywhere, and I feel like I’ve been more motivated to go to school and try to improve myself,” Barnes said.

Barnes wasn’t the only person feeling optimistic about this policy and the changes that will come with it.

“I want people to use my new name. It’s what I like, and I want to be called what I want to be called. I’m mostly thankful that substitutes won’t dead name me every time they take attendance,” freshman North McGlynn said.

This system is still in its early stages and administrators are still a long way from making this new policy as beneficial to students as possible. One of the main improvements being made is how these changes could be made without informing the student’s parents. For students who are not out as trans to their parents, an option to keep that information at school might be useful for many.

“Currently with the highest tier of change, there isn’t a way for students to change their name without their parents knowing about it. Once we start rolling out our plan, there could be different options for different levels of change. There could be a tier where all teachers would be informed and their names could be changed on attendance, but since we’re only offering the highest tier right now, parents would be notified immediately after,” Assistant Director of Student Services Dan Toy said.

In the meantime, this policy will continue to serve as a positive change for many students in our school community.

“What we would encourage students to do is to talk to a trusted adult, preferably a counselor or someone from the Student Services, and that person will start the process,” Funes said. “Hopefully this policy will cause students to feel more comfortable and safe during school.”