New Law Allows Former Students To Change Name And Gender On Past Student Records

Lozano Smith Client News Brief
October 2019
Number 48

Assembly Bill (AB) 711 establishes a process for former students to change their name and gender on pupil records, including diplomas.

Existing law requires school districts to maintain and preserve, in perpetuity, certain mandatory pupil records, even after a student graduates. AB 711 was enacted to address the needs of former students and to protect their privacy rights. Prior to the enactment of this statute, former students' prior legal names (or "dead names") and/or gender were being inadvertently disclosed by school districts to colleges and employers with the release of their transcripts. This bill makes it easier for former students to request the pupil records maintained by a school district be changed to reflect their preferred name and/or gender on student records maintained by a school district. Notably, the AB 711 also includes diplomas as a document that may be reissued, even though diplomas are typically considered ceremonial documents and not pupil records maintained by school districts.

Under AB 711, in order for a former student's name and/or gender to be changed on mandatory permanent records, the former student must provide legal documentation of the change. If the former student does not provide documentation of the change, they may still proceed to change their name and/or gender through the standard process for amending student records, birth certificates, passports, social security cards, or court orders indicating a name change or a gender change, or both.

Additionally, AB 711 requires that school districts add a document containing the following information to the former student's file after the request is completed:

  • The date of the request;

  • The date the requested records were reissued to the former pupil;

  • A list of the records that were requested by, and reissued to, the former pupil;

  • The type of documentation provided by the former pupil in order to demonstrate the legal name or gender change;

  • The name of the school district, charter school, or county office of education staff person that completed the request; and

  • The current and former name or gender of the former pupil.

School districts should review what policies and forms they have to request name and gender changes, and ensure that those forms are in compliance with Senate Bill 179 (See 2018 CNB No. 13) and AB 711. These forms should reflect the option for former students to change their gender on student records, including with the non-binary gender marker.

If you have questions regarding AB 711, pupils records, or student issues in general, please contact the authors of this Client News Brief or an attorney at one of our eight offices located statewide. You can also subscribe to our podcast, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn or download our mobile app.
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As the information contained herein is necessarily general, its application to a particular set of facts and circumstances may vary. For this reason, this News Brief does not constitute legal advice. We recommend that you consult with your counsel prior to acting on the information contained herein.