A New York City private school is defending its decision to encourage students to use more inclusive language by ditching assumptive words such as “parents” or “mom and dad,” and using phrases like “grown-ups” or “family” instead.
Grace Church School, a co-ed school in Manhattan, released its “Inclusive Language Guide” in September as a way of providing the school community with language that better aligned with its mission.
“We can use language to create welcoming and inclusive spaces,” the document says. “This guide addresses ways we can remove harmful assumptions from the way we interact with each other.”
In recent days, however, the guide has made headlines for its suggestions, which also encourage students to use words like “people,” “folks” and “friends” instead of “boys and girls,” “guys” or “ladies and gentlemen.”
“We’re not telling people not to call their parents mom and dad. That’s the silliest thing anybody ever came up with,” Head of School George Davison told WCBS. “And it’s not even a word police. It is rather a guide to inclusive language, if you want to use it.”
In a letter to the school community, Davison said he was “proud” to be “in the eye of the culture war storm,” and that having the guide would have prevented him from making an embarrassing mistake in the past.
“One lesson I learned a few years ago is that I should never assume the familial relationship between any student and the adult that is with them,” he wrote. “I was embarrassed, to say the least, when I once presumed that two adults with an applicant were his grandparents (They were not). Offense was caused that could have easily been avoided.”
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SOURCE: PEOPLE, Rachel DeSantis