By Claire Pomer, Harwood Union correspondent

Part of the process at Harwood’s graduation on Saturday, June 8, was checking students’ preferred names and pronouns. So, how do students have a say in their preference for names and pronouns? The Valley Reporter takes a look at the process.





The form to request a name or pronoun change is at the bottom of the Student Handbook, which is found under the Students tab on the Harwood website. Under the Preferred Name and Pronouns heading in the Handbook, it states that “HUUSD is committed to fostering a school culture that respects and values all students.” The handbook directs students, parents, and counselors to the Preferred Name/Gender Identity Change Request Form, which can also be found in the counseling office. If students are under 18, parental consent must be acquired.  


This process only changes names and/or pronouns in the HUUSD system. “HUUSD is required to use a student’s legal name for official records such as transcripts and state standardized testing platforms,” the handbook says, “However, whenever reasonably possible, a student’s preferred name/gender identity will be used.” Some students also said that attendance records for substitute teachers still said the incorrect names, even years after they had changed their name at Harwood. 

Sometimes the process is much simpler. Student A, a junior, said that all they had to do was send their counselor an email and their counselor coordinated the details with their parents. 





However, sharing this information with anyone else violates privacy laws and could potentially put the student at risk. Best Practices for School Regarding Transgender and Gender Nonconforming Students, published in February 2017 by the Vermont Agency of Education, states, “Disclosing confidential student information to other… students, parents, or other third parties may violate privacy laws, including but not limited to FERPA.”

FERPA, the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, protects student educational records. “Transgender or gender nonconforming students,” Best Practices continues, “have the ability, as do all students, to discuss and express their gender identity and gender expression openly and decide when, with whom, and how much of their private information to share with others.”