Millions of Students Can Change Names, Pronouns Without Parental Consent, but Not Take Over-the-Counter Meds: Report

By Samantha Flom
Samantha Flom
Samantha Flom
Samantha Flom is a reporter for The Epoch Times covering U.S. politics and news. A graduate of Syracuse University, she has a background in journalism and nonprofit communications. Contact her at
and Steve Lance
Steve Lance
Steve Lance
Steve Lance is the host of Capitol Report, a political news show based in Washington aimed at providing a direct channel to the voices and people who shape policy in America. Capitol Report features all of the political news of the day with expert interviews and analysis.
February 26, 2023Updated: February 27, 2023

Some of the largest school districts in the United States currently require parental consent for students to take over-the-counter medication but not for them to change their names or pronouns, according to a new report.

Published Feb. 22 by the nonprofit Defense of Freedom Institute for Policy Studies (DFI), the report notes that such is the case in eight of the nation’s 20 largest school districts by enrollment, including the New York City Department of Education, Los Angeles Unified School District, and Chicago Public Schools.

“There are more than 3 million students in America from kindergarten all the way through their senior year of high school who are allowed to change their name and pronouns at school without their parents knowing, but not to take an Advil from the school nurse,” DFI spokesperson Angela Morabito told NTD, sister outlet of The Epoch Times, on Feb. 24.

According to the 14-page report, only three of the 20 largest districts had readily-available policies requiring parental notification when a child wants to go by a different name.

In total, the report identifies 25 school districts around the country that have written policies permitting some or all of their students to use the names and pronouns of their choice without parental consent but still require said consent before the school will offer them medication.

“And the rationale for this is really just school bureaucrats who think they know better than parents,” said Morabito, who served as the press secretary for the Department of Education under former Education Secretary Betsy DeVos.

“They think parents can be cut out of the conversation, and that they should be the ones in charge of major decisions in a child’s life. And that’s just not true. This report is really about the acute need to put control back in the hands of parents.”

Morabito noted that, in many cases, school districts will instruct teachers to keep parents in the dark, using a child’s legal name and biological pronouns when speaking to his or her parents but then using the student’s preferred identifiers when addressing them in school.

“There are also school districts that come right out and say, ‘If the parents object, we do not care,’” she added. “The school district will go along with whatever the student says, even if the parents say, ‘No, this is wrong. We don’t want it.’”

But while some parents in small-town America might be tempted to dismiss the issue as one only affecting major cities, Morabito stressed that that was not the case.

“We found this in major cities and small towns alike, that are saying that they will cut parents out … of something so absolutely critical,” she noted.

“So, there’s really no part of the country where parents can afford to say, ‘We’re going to skip this entirely.’ Every parent should be looking at what their school district’s rules are and making sure that if those rules cut them out that they step up and have a say.”