A language guide for a New York private school is urging staff to not use phrases such as “mom and dad” and “boys and girls” in favor of more inclusive terms.
Grace Church School released its 12-page “Grace Inclusive Language Guide“, designed to provide staff with “more inclusive language” that aligns with the school’s mission.
“While we recognize hateful language that promotes racism, misogyny, homophobia, and other forms of discrimination are already addressed in our school handbooks, we also recognize that we can do more than ban hateful language; we can use language to create welcoming and inclusive spaces,” the guide reads. “This guide addresses ways we can remove harmful assumptions from the way we interact with each other.”
Instead, the school is calling for phrases like “boys and girls” or “ladies and gentlemen” should be replaced with words such as “people”, “folks”, “friends”, “readers”.
Other terms like “mom and dad” are asked to be replaced with “grown-ups”, “folks” or “family”.
“We have taught our students to use language thoughtfully from day one. It is why we require students to use honorifics such as Mr., Ms., or Dr. when talking with adults in this community. It is as basic as saying “please and thank you.” It is why our vacations are denominated by the seasons and not the Christian holidays that fall within them. Not every student at Grace has two living parents; that is one reason why we encourage teachers to use language that does not presume that all of their students do,” a statement from Head of School George Davidson.
“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,” Davidson’s statement continued.