Mixed reactions over new policy requiring permission slips to use students' nicknames

School districts across Central Florida are requiring parents to sign a permission slip if they want their kids' nickname or preferred name to be used in class.

"It's been an absolute non-issue," Anna Barone-Jaryszach, whose daughter Lucia likes to go by Lucy, told FOX 35. "My first thought is about the teachers and all of the things that they are already managing and just how this just seems like another superfluous thing that they shouldn't have to be messing with."

The Florida Department of Education approved the new rule earlier this summer. It requires school districts to "develop a form to obtain parental consent" … "to specify the use of any deviation from their child’s legal name in school."

"It's so ridiculously absurd that I would need to consent for anyone to call her what she wants to be called," Seminole County parent Jenn Devine said about her 11-year-old daughter. "She's had an opinion about her name since she was two."

The former teacher filled out the form because her daughter Scarlette likes to go by Lette.

She feels this new policy will especially harm transgender students who aren’t ready to come out to their parents but want to use their preferred name at school.

"This law is going to force a lot of the LGBTQIA+ children to be outed in class, or it's going to cause them to not feel comfortable expressing who they are, which is so detrimental," Devine said.

Adam Tritt, a teacher at Brevard County Public Schools, says this new policy is adding to a growing list of matters teachers are being forced to navigate.

"Teachers don't really know whether they're coming or going with their following of these, precisely what they can and cannot say," he said. "None of that is actually my job. My job is to educate the students."

There is, however, support for this new policy, including from parents and Orange County school board member Alicia Farrant.

"I have a kid who is Jonathan and goes by LJ, and I would be more than happy to sign a paper. It's very simple," she said.

She argues there have been cases across the country – although none, that she's aware of, in Orange County – where teachers and students are using names not approved by parents. This does away with that.

"I think anything where we can include parents and make sure that they are included in the education of their child, I'm all for it," she said.

While it's possible a teacher in her school district could face consequences for calling a student by anything but their legal name if their parent hasn't consented, Farrant says that would be determined case by case.