Opinion: Getting VUSD to recognize a preferred name becomes easier…kinda


The “Student Changes in Q” form is now making it easier for VHS students to change their names. Photo by: Rachel Gonzalez

Rowan Munoz and Rachel Gonzalez

Students who request a name change don’t always get it changed on their ID cards

Students do not always feel a connection to the name they are given at birth. This is especially true for students a part of the LGBTQ+ community. A name change is sometimes necessary for their overall mental health. 

A study done by The Trevor Project called the National Survey on LGBTQ Youth Mental Health 2020, it was recorded that 40 percent of LGBTQIA+ respondants have seriously considered suicide with more than half of transgender and nonbinary youth having seriously considered suicide. This taken into account it is more than an important issue. Making sure that Ventura High School has accommodations for their LGBTQIA+ students should be a priority to ensure that VHS students don’t run into these troubling thoughts of suicide. 

Although having a name changed in a teacher’s roster at Ventura High School has been made easier, it is a different story when it comes to ID cards. The school ID is a versatile card. It allows students to have certain privileges, such as allowing students to borrow books and get into school events. 

In order for VHS students to have their preferred name on their teachers rosters, students must fill out a form given to them by their counselors. This form does not ask for a parent’s consent. However, getting a students name changed on their ID card may include persistence and an extra step. 

For ID purposes, Ventura Unified School District does not get a preferred name if a student changes it in their school’s system unless strictly requested. This causes a problem with students figuring out their identity, especially ones in the transgender community. 

Names are a huge part of a person’s identity. When interviewing senior Mercury Ball, she explained that their legal name is Olivia but now goes by Mercury. Mercury goes by she/they pronouns. She told The Cougar Press, “I think the whole concept of parents naming their children before they even know who they are […] is odd to me. So if they [anyone] want to change their name because it doesn’t really fit them I think they should be able to and their parents should respect that.” 

Ball said that their name change has not only affected how she views their identity but also has affected how other people view Ball’s identity. Because of the popularity of the name Olivia, Ball explained that there is a pre-assumed visual around the name that doesn’t match who she is.

Since names are such a personal piece to a person’s identity, situations should be handled accordingly. For students like Ball, a name change in a teacher’s roster is enough to satisfy their need. Ball does not have her preferred name on their ID card

VUSD is trying its best to find ways to help students find their identity and place in its schools, but the ways might need some improvement. All in all, this is an issue that we need to think more about and guide to its full potential, for the LGBTQIA+ students in our community.