Answer: A pivotal issue in this scenario is that the student is saying that not changing their chosen name and gender identity is not a barrier to enrollment (which includes attending classes and participating fully in school activities).  States, school districts, and charter schools need to revise policies to remove barriers to identification, enrollment, and retention in school (42 U.S.C. 11432(g)(1)(I)). If the student indicates that not being able to change the information in the student information system makes the student hesitant to come to school or otherwise is a barrier to identification, enrollment, or retention in school, then you would need to allow the change without parental signature or notification. It’s important to have these conversations sensitively with students and ensure barriers are removed, particularly given that transgender students are ten times more likely to experience homelessness than cisgender students.

However, if the policy is not a barrier to identification, enrollment, or retention, then the district would need to apply the same rules to McKinney-Vento students as you’d apply to housed students around a procedure like this. If at any point not being able to make those changes becomes a barrier to the student attending or participating fully in school, then you would need to revise the policy to allow the youth to make the change independently from parents.

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