Orange County teacher weighs in on new rules surrounding nicknames, pronouns

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. — For Orange County teacher Sandy Thuringer, this time of year is always busy.


But getting ready for the big day just got a lot more complicated.

New rules are now on the Orange County Public School’s website, saying parents must spell out in a permission slip what names or nicknames their child is allowed to be called if it’s not their legal name.

Thuringer said it may sound simple, but there’s a lot more to it.

READ: Central Florida schools react to new rules on student pronouns, restrooms

“The parents would have to sign that form, and then we have to make sure our office has that form before we can start calling them Johnny instead of Jonathan,” she said. “It’s going to be a lot more difficult.”

There could be consequences for not following the rules, especially when it comes to pronoun use.

Even if a parent requests the student’s preferred pronouns are used, Orange County Public Schools said it’s still unclear whether teachers can use it.

READ: Watch ‘Back to school: Preparing mentally, physically & financially for the year ahead’ tonight

For now, the school district is advising teachers concerned about the liability of using a student’s preferred pronouns to either stick to the student’s last name, use the first name listed on the classroom roster or use the child’s approved nickname.

Thuringer said it’s a lot to add to their plates right now.

“We’re trying to get prepared for them to come to campus, and then we have to be on eggshells making sure we don’t violate anything.”

READ: Orange County Public Schools releases guidance on student pronouns, restroom rules

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Adam Poulisse, WFTV.com

Adam Poulisse joined WFTV in November 2019.