A private school in Manhattan has sent out recommendations to staff, students, and parents telling them not to use words like “mom and dad” and “Merry Christmas” because they “make assumptions” about students’ home lives.
Grace Church School in NoHo — which has a yearly tuition of over $57,000 — released a 12-page “inclusive language” guide that they believe will eliminate “harmful assumptions” from communication and make the campus a more “welcoming and inclusive” place.
The school suggests that instead of saying “mom,” “dad,” or “parents,” people should use words like “grown-ups,” “folks,” “family,” and “guardians.”
And instead of saying “boys and girls,” “guys,” or “ladies and gentlemen,” students should say “people,” “folks,” “friends,” and “readers.”
“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 school’s guide says.
The guide also says that “human sexuality exists along a spectrum” and that faculty, students, and parents should “avoid making assumptions about how adults identify themselves in the present or how children might identify themselves in the future” because “sexuality can be fluid along the course of a person’s life.”
The document also advises against “assuming gender based on stereotypes” and using boy/girl patterns for school functions, such as lining up outside of the class.
“Using gender-inclusive language can provide critical affirmation to students across the gender spectrum,” the school says.
After negative press about the guide, the school’s administrator, George Davison, issued a statement saying, “At Grace, we understand the power of language both to include and to cause alienation. We also know that it is our job to give community members resources to allow them to make informed and generous choices.”
He also said that the guide does not ban any language, it just “give[s] us all words to use that will bring people together.”
“So if the boorish ‘cancel culture’ press wants to condemn us a newly dubbed ‘Woke Noho’ school of politeness, dignity and respect, then I embrace it, and I hope you will too,” he added.