The controversy surrounding the Grace Church School Inclusive Language Guide for faculty and staff is based on false information. Some news accounts incorrectly reported that the guide was for students and that we banned the use of words such as “mom” and “dad” as politically incorrect. Nothing could be further from the truth.
We provided the Inclusive Language Guide to faculty and staff last September as one of many initiatives to combat racism and promote the most welcoming and respectful learning environment possible for the entire community. The guide was not issued as a mandatory policy or included in curricula or student instruction, and it was never intended for student use. We should have been more explicit about the guide’s intent and purpose: a tool for professional development and adult continuing education to help our faculty and staff foster a culture of sensitivity and inclusivity in interactions with our students.
Grace Church School stands by our efforts to recognize the dignity and respect that should be afforded to everyone and to demonstrate that words matter. That’s why we developed the guide for faculty and staff to offer them suggested alternative language to traditional words and phrases that may not appropriately recognize racial, gender, or other differences among individuals and groups of people. In January the guide was shared on our website and included among a list of informational resources for parents and guardians in an update to the community about Grace’s antiracism work.
We will continue to use and model polite, kind, and respectful language so that everyone feels they belong at Grace Church School. And in pursuing this goal, we will endeavor to be more inclusive in diversity of thought and better engage our community so that our efforts clearly communicate the values we all embrace.