Cheyenne Teachers Now Required To Notify Parents If Kids Change Their Names

Teachers in Cheyenne will now be required to notify parents when their kids want to go by other names or nicknames, including transgender names. The district took its policy a step further than state law.

Clair McFarland

June 27, 20244 min read

Laramie County School District 1 administration building at 2810 House Ave. in Cheyenne.
Laramie County School District 1 administration building at 2810 House Ave. in Cheyenne. (Greg Johnson, Cowboy State Daily)

To conform with state law, Wyoming’s largest school district based in Cheyenne has adopted a policy requiring teachers notify parents of changes in a student’s character or wellbeing.

The district took its policy a step further than state law, and specified that this includes students’ requests to change their names.

The mandate on names was approved Monday during a public meeting of the Laramie County School District 1 board to conform with a state law that passed the Wyoming Legislature late this winter.

Late Change

Board Vice-Chair Christy Klassen added the late change to the policy draft, which prompted the board to adopt it on an emergency basis instead of a permanent basis. This allows the public another 45-day period to comment on Klaassen’s amendment.

Klaassen proposed, and the board approved in a 4-2 vote, the change requiring teachers to notify parents if a student asks to be called by a new name or nickname.

Board Treasurer Brittany Ashby and Trustee Renee Hinkle voted against the amendment.  

The new wording could go into effect as a permanent policy around the start of the new school year.

‘Sad Day,’ Says Former School Board Candidate

Todd Reynolds, an education professor at University of Wyoming and a former school board candidate, called it a “very sad night for this district.”

He clarified that the board had to adopt the policy change to comply with state law. But he said he disagrees with Klassen and the board majority’s name change addition.  

“It’s one of the most anti-student things I’ve heard this board say,” said Reynolds.

He theorized that requiring teachers to report new-name requests by kids with alternate gender identities could lead to their harm, if their parents resent people who identify differently. 

Under The Law’s Umbrella

State Sens. Evie Brennan, R-Cheyenne, and Cheri Steinmetz, R-Lingle, both countered, saying the name change criterion wasn’t far from legislators’ minds when they passed the policy’s underlying law earlier this year.

Both senators are members of the Senate Education Committee, which sponsored the Parental Rights In Education Act in the 2024 session of the Wyoming Legislature.

“I think that’s a good change,” said Steinmetz. “I think that was the intent of the Legislature, that parents be notified when that happens.”

Steinmetz countered Reynolds’ claim that the change poses a hazard to kids, saying it’s generally more harmful to cut parents out of their own children’s lives during the crucial stage of adolescence.

Brennan agreed, saying parents,  not teachers, are ultimately responsible for raising their own children and are generally invested in their wellbeing.

Brennan said Klaassen’s wording change is more specific than the Legislature intended, but not outside the law’s scope.

The Policy Says …

Mirroring the statute’s language, the policy says district employees who learn of a change in a student’s educational, physical, mental or emotional health will report that change to an administrator who in turn tell the student’s parents.

But if the employee “reasonably believes” the change is from suspected abuse or neglect, he or she must first report the abuse to law enforcement or the Wyoming Department of Family Services.

Then, after law enforcement or DFS has cleared the school to do so, the school will notify the parents of the change.

Reynolds said he disputes this concept as well because it puts teachers in a difficult position of being liable if they fail to report the abuse, but having future problems with parents if they report them as potentially abusive.

State lawmakers went rounds with questions of abuse during their session as well, with detractors of the new law saying it will over-involve abusive parents, and proponents of it saying teachers are required to report suspected abuse anyway, with or without this law.

LCSD1's new policy mirrors other portions of the state law, such as a mandate to notify parents before teaching kids about sexual orientation.

Clair McFarland can be reached at

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Clair McFarland

Crime and Courts Reporter