Parental authorization now required for nicknames to be used in Sarasota County Schools

WWSB ABC7 News at 6pm
Published: Aug. 15, 2023 at 3:25 PM EDT
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SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) - If a student goes by a name other than their legal name, beginning this school year, a parent will have to sign a consent form for the preferred name to be used in school.

Eric Robinson is a parent of a Sarasota County student. His daughter Madison often goes by the nickname Maddie, a name teachers will call her only if her father signs a consent form.

As a former school board member, he says there are things the district should be focusing on and this isn’t it.

‘I want to make sure my daughter has good SAT scores. I want to make sure she has a good GPA. I want the school to focus on those issues. All this other stuff is a distraction,” says Robinson. “It doesn’t help the common goal of increasing my daughter’s education and scores.”

Sarasota County Schools sent the form to all parents in the district.

The email read “One of the latest legal requirements pertains to how we refer to your child at school. Our default practice will continue to be the use of your child’s legal name under which they are registered. However, Florida’s Department of Education has proposed a new rule (FAC 6A-1.0955(8)(m)) that affects this process. This rule, aligned with Florida’s Parents’ Bill of Rights, allows parents to specify alternative names that school personnel may use when referring to your child at school.”

ABC7 reached out to administrators at Sarasota County Schools for comment, but they denied the request.

See the authorization form below: