Committee targets name changes on student records

By Herald-Whig
Posted: May. 15, 2019 9:40 am

QUINCY -- A Quincy Public Schools committee wants to look at policy surrounding student requests for name changes on permanent records.

QPS attorney David Penn will look into policy and guidance statewide on name changes tied to sexual orientation and student records, then report back to the Policy Committee.

At Tuesday's committee meeting, Penn said the question has arisen in other districts across the state and "absolutely" will continue to be discussed.

"As this issue continues to evolve, it's a fluid area. It's relatively new and will continue to be in dialogue," he said. "We want to be sensitive but be following the law as well."

Permanent records carry a student's legal name, prompting questions about changing the record if the name is legally changed. But students already can use a nickname or middle name in class or in yearbook listings.

"If it's a court-approved name change, it could perhaps be accepted," committee member Alan Nichols said,

The Illinois Association of School Boards has issued a guidance paper on the issue, which will be reviewed.

Student records, whether permanent or temporary, are confidential, Penn said, and school districts must maintain certain parts of the permanent record for 60 years.

But the district has no policy tied to name changes in permanent records.

"Certainly we're not the only school district to face this issue in coming years," Committee Co-Chairman Jim Whitfield said,

Also Tuesday, committee members agreed to table for a month policy updates from the Policy Reference Education Subscription Service.

Among the changes were boosting the requirement for school climate surveys from every two years to every year and a new requirement to start a targeted school violence prevention program.

"We have a lot of this in place. It's a corollary to our risk management," Penn said. "This is have a threat assessment and have a plan. It's not unlike having a plan for a tornado or a natural disaster."

The School Board will act on the proposed policy changes in June.