Student Name Issue

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Rabbitt, Sep 20, 2007.

  1. Rabbitt

    Rabbitt Connoisseur

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    Sep 20, 2007

    I am in a dilemma with a student's name.

    Apparently Mom Smith and Dad Jones had child 1 'Bob Jones'
    Mom Smith and Dad Jones separate but have child 2 'Tom Smith' :eek:confused:
    Mom and Dad reunite and have child 3 'Sam Jones'.

    Well mom informs me that the second child only knows himself as 'Tom Jones' even though it isn't official. Apparently it's too much $$$ to change his name and she never plans to change it. Keep in mind that Mom and Dad are not married and he is carrying a matching name of his mother. Something I think he should be proud of.

    So I think it is only appropriate that 'Tom Smith' uses his official name. Our principal and his former teachers tell me not to make an issue of it as it is a personal family issue. But it's hard for me to not encourage this child to respect his name and appreciate himself. :help:

    What are your thoughts?
     
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  3. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    I think it's none of your business.
     
  4. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Mom may be more concerned with working on family unity at the moment... stressing the point that all 3 boys are brothers and should work together and help each other out. The fact that her child was born out of wedlock may not be something she wishes to advertise, particularly since the other 2 siblings share dad's last name. She may be working in re-integrating dad into the household.

    I think he can appreciate himself without using the correct last name. I say you leave matters as they are.
     
  5. scmom

    scmom Enthusiast

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    I agree - not your business.
     
  6. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    I agree that you should leave things as they are. I had a situation like this, except the mom worked at our school. I called him by the name mom wanted in school, but on offical documentation(report card) I put his official name.
     
  7. Emma35

    Emma35 Connoisseur

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    I agree with smalltowngal. Do what the parents want but keep all legal documents in his official name.
     
  8. ABall

    ABall Fanatic

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    I think it makes perfect sense. They want to be one family---- even though at one time mom and dad had some differences.

    They don't want Tom feel out of place or "different" because his paren'ts........... were seperated at the time of his birth.---- because now they are getting together as an entire family.

    maybe I understand this since I have some cousins with a mixed up family.................... (don't we all some where down the line??)
     
  9. DizneeTeachR

    DizneeTeachR Virtuoso

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    I say let it be as well. I know when my parents divorced we used our family name & sometimes my step's name. Teacher's knew what was going on & it was a phase for us. I say respect the wishes of the family. But like smalltown on official documents you legally (I think) have to use his legal name.
     
  10. kabd54

    kabd54 Cohort

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    The parents can call the child by whatever name they choose, however, in our board, official documents have to have the name as issued on the birth certificate.
     
  11. Tasha

    Tasha Phenom

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    I can see the point of using whatever name the parents wish. However, report cards must have the official name on them. How will this student fell when he sees this other name on the paper? That might be more damaging than just saying that they are brothers, but have different names. (I mean for the parents to explain not the teacher! :eek:)
     
  12. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    I doubt he'll be any more affected than a child who always goes by a nickname that's different from her legal first name: one looks at the paperwork, shrugs, and deals with it.
     
  13. Tasha

    Tasha Phenom

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    Yes, but a child with a nickname generally KNOWS they also have a "real" name. My impression is that the child is not aware of the name difference. That is what I mean by the parents letting him know before he sees it.
     
  14. kimrandy1

    kimrandy1 Enthusiast

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    So, what are they planning on doing with his name for his high school diploma? Driver's license??

    They should start saving up money for the name change now. It's only a couple of hundred dollars, and if they even manage to save $5 a week, in less than a couple of years, they'd be able to make it legal.
    Kim
     
  15. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    Ditto...report cards and other official school reports must have the child's legal name. When students are registered, both legal name and preferred name are indicated.
     
  16. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Maven

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    If it's the legal name, make sure it's on all official documents. I also include the "alternate" name as well. In the classroom I use whatever they wish.

    Last year I had a student who told me that his brother was "John Smith", but he was really supposed to be "John Jones" . . . but they had lost his legal papers so he had to stay "John Smith" while he and his sister got to be "Jones'".
     
  17. Rabbitt

    Rabbitt Connoisseur

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    Thank you!
    I know the parent intentions here.

    Just today he received a special 'responsibility' award from our principal and his official name was announced over the announcememtns. Poor 'Bob' didn't know it was him!!!!!!! :eek:

    What troubles me the most is that this child arrives with a Lands End backpack, NIKE shoes, professional jerseys, twistable crayons vs tradtional, he doesn't qualify for reduced lunch, etc.
    Now you cannot tell me they cannot save to have his name changed. :down:

    The child will have a driving license, diploma, marriage, etc that will need to use his official name.
     
  18. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Why does it bother you so much?:confused::confused:

    They want him to use this name for whatever reasons that don't involve you. On school documents I'm sure they will understand the need to use the 'official name'.
     
  19. Jarenko

    Jarenko Companion

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    Agree. Your compassion and dedication to this child is both heart warming and inspiring, but ultimately it is best to not go against the wishes of their parent: the ultimate authority on how the child is to be raised.
     
  20. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    I know a young man who went by his absent father's name all the way through high school. When he was old enough to do so legally, he collected several years' worth of Christmas and birthday presents and earnings and had his name changed legally to his mom's maiden name, since she and her parents had raised him. It took those of us who knew him no more than a week to adjust (I mean, we did have to stop applauding first).
     
  21. Bonnie gr. 2

    Bonnie gr. 2 Companion

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    I had a student whose mother said that the child's legal last name traumatized the child because it was the abusive fathers. The principal said it is her legal name and must be on the documents. In class we used the name mom preferred. She was annoyed that the report card had the legal name but that is the child's name. She didn't want to go to court to change the name because she didn't want the dad to know too much about where they were.
     
  22. ChristyF

    ChristyF Moderator

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    Rabbitt, just out of curiousity, have you had an issue in your life that was similar (a child who had a different name, etc?) I know that could explain why this is so personal for you. (I know we have dealt with my niece and nephew having my, Thank God ex-brother-in-law's name).
    We had an issue with a child a couple of years ago. He was being adopted by, I think, a cousin. He had his father's last name (his father had abused him horribly) and the family had unofficially changed his name. The teacher that year was a distant relative and never questioned it. The next year, though, the teacher had placed the kids in alphabetical order in the room and had used his official name not the name he went by. The parents hadn't met with her to explain the situation. Anyway it became a big issue because they wanted his "new" name on his report card and everything else. Of course we couldn't do that (our report cards are printed out by our system that is hooked to the state for attendance, etc). They weren't happy, but explained it to him (he was a 3rd grader). Once she knew the situation the teacher called him by the name the family asked, but his paperwork (and state test documents) all had his official name. Not a perfect solution, but the best fix at the time. At the beginning of each year I always make a "cheat" sheet. I list my students and their parents' names on index cards. I keep one attached to the board right by my desk, one in the gradebook, and one on the side of the box where I store signed papers. Some years I have so many that mom and child have different names, I have trouble remembering what child that parent is referring to.
     
  23. SouthernTeach

    SouthernTeach Companion

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    I had a fourth grader boy one year who's parents called him "Sugy"... like sugar.... That is what the child wanted to be called....I just could not bring myself to call him that.... He was not that sweet! LOL! Of course, that was a first name issue!
     
  24. Jarenko

    Jarenko Companion

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    You can call me Sugy. :unsure:
     
  25. JaimeMarie

    JaimeMarie Moderator

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    When my mom got remarried I went by her new name for two or three years. I was in 4th grade. Eventually I out grew it and went back to my name. Of course now I want to name my first son that.

    I don't think it's a big deal that the child isn't going by his legal name.
     
  26. becky

    becky Enthusiast

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    How confusing for this poor kid.
     
  27. MissFroggy

    MissFroggy Aficionado

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    I went by the name of my step father growing up (he had been my parent since I was 2.) It was never legal and I saw my dad regularly. In any case, it was quite an adjustment when I started working and my social security card had my legal name, so I began to use that. Nevertheless, I much prefered having the name of my mother step-father and half siblings to being the odd duck in the family with a different name.

    People that know me from childhood and know me now assume I am married because of the name change. This actually has happened a lot since I began teaching. I run into former teachers at conferences and in-services and things like that.

    Interestingly, my report cards and transcripts were all in my step-dads name. Perhaps they were not as strict about those things back then. I'm sure my mother just used that name for everything, doctors records, etc.
     
  28. Rabbitt

    Rabbitt Connoisseur

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    It has been confsing to him and he looks at me for answers.
    I've directed his questions back to his parents.

    czacza...I think it bothers me because the parents want me to lie to him. They don't even want me to have him hear or see his official name. Then when his name was announced for a pride award to the whole school, the poor child didn't know it was him. He had tears in his eyes.

    I just want him to be proud of who he is and have not questions. I just don't appreciate being put into this spot. I want him to trust me with answers I cannot give.

    I have accepted that this is their choice and i will deal with it as it comes up. :thanks:
     
  29. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    What a pity the parents don't realize that keeping the kid in the dark does him no favors.
     
  30. Rabbitt

    Rabbitt Connoisseur

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    UPDATE!

    OK...just got worse...or better.
    Our guidance counselor called me at home just minutes ago.
    Mom admitted to her that this son DOES have a different father and going through a name change requires his approval. And since they have not told him :eek

    Does our GC now have an obligation to report what she knows? I would think it's in confidence and yet????
     
  31. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    To whom would she report it? The legal document is in the birth father's name, right? Basically that's the cause of the problem.

    I think she probably realizes what her obligation is... I would imagine this is all part of Guidance Counseling 101. Her obligation is to guide the child if and when this becomes a problem to him. There is no legal issue here. Women are not legally obligated to let the birth dad know they're pregnant, so the guidance counselor has no legal obligation. You as teacher have absolutely no obligation here.

    Continue to enter legal documents in the child's legal name, and refer to him the way he prefers.
     
  32. Rabbitt

    Rabbitt Connoisseur

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    Ya, you're right. I know the world is coming to far worse things. I feel for this child and his natural father...but I guess that NF could be puposely hiding. :unsure:
     

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