A Manhattan private school has issued a 12-page “inclusive language” guide that discourages words such as “mom and dad,” “parents,” “nanny/babysitter,” “is adopted,” and “husband, wife, boyfriend, girlfriend,” The City Journal reported.
Instead, the guide recommends using the terms “grown-ups, folks or family, guardians, caregiver, was adopted” and “spouse, partner and significant other,” respectively.
“Families are formed and structured in many ways. At Grace Church School, we use inclusive language that reflects this diversity. It’s important to refrain from making assumptions about who kids live with, who cares for them, whether they sleep in the same place every night, whether they see their parents, etc.,” the guide reads.
The school told the City Journal its goal is to “promote a sense of belonging for all of our students.”
“Grace is an Episcopal school. As part of our Episcopal identity, we recognize the dignity and worth common to humanity,” Rev. Robert Pennoyer, assistant head of school, said in a statement to the news outlet.
The guide also cites the importance of using gender inclusive language that can “provide critical affirmation to students across the gender spectrum.”
“One way to achieve this is to take gender out of text where it’s unnecessary,” the document states.
Instead of using “boys and girls, ladies and gentlemen,” Grace says to use, “people, folks, friends, readers and mathematicians.”
The topic of preferred gender pronouns has triggered controversy as more companies and schools look to create a diverse and inclusive workplace. The most common pronouns are “he, him, his” and “she, her, hers” although some transgender people may choose to use pronouns that don’t conform to binary categorizations, such as “they, them, theirs.”
During a Brevard County school board meeting in Florida earlier this week opposing groups debated how transgender and other LGBTQ students should be treated.
North Carolina on Wednesday said it would list transgender students’ preferred names on their school records, a move LGBTQ advocates had lobbied for.
“The new update to North Carolina’s PowerSchool system is about extending respect to every student who uses a name different than their legal one – not just transgender students, but also students whose names are often mispronounced by English speakers, and who choose to use a different name at school, or even students who prefer to go by their middle name,” Craig White, the supportive schools coordinator at the Campaign for Southern Equality, said in a statement.
White added: “It’s a particular relief for transgender students who have faced unique challenges with virtual learning through the COVID-19 pandemic: For the past year, the learning platforms that schools have used to navigate virtual learning have all relied on naming students with the legal name recorded in PowerSchool, and that’s often resulted in the misgendering or ‘deadnaming’ of transgender students. The preferred name policy will go a long way toward creating a school climate that is welcoming and inclusive for all students.”
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