Maybe it was only a matter of time in an unyielding “cancel culture,” but right now, the elite Grace Church School in Manhattan is directing its students away from the use of the words “mom,” “dad,” and even “parent” to refer to their—um, parents.
Why? Because those terms supposedly don’t represent “diversity” or “inclusivity” today.
Among other dictates, the school’s 12-page guide for staff and students notes that “families are formed and structured in many ways. At Grace Church School, we use inclusive language that reflects this diversity,” the guide says.
So instead of referring to their parents as “mom” and “dad,” students at this school should now say “grown-ups,” “folks,” or “family,” the guide insists.
Even the terms “nanny” or “babysitter” are discouraged.
Not just very discouraged. Verboten.
Instead, students are coaxed to say “caregiver” or “guardian” when referring to the adults who watch them while their parents are working or away.
But that’s not all.
Regarding sexual orientation, the school’s guide says that “human sexuality exists along a spectrum. At [our school], we use inclusive language that acknowledges all orientations and identities.”
Given that, the guide goes on, students now must “be conscious of heteronormative assumptions; i.e., boys have or want girlfriends, girls have or want boyfriends. Avoid phrases like ‘ladies’ man,’ ‘boys will love those eyelashes,’ or ‘your mom and dad must be so proud.’ People get to love who they want to love,” the guide continues. “Avoid making assumptions about how adults identify themselves in the present or how children might identify themselves in the future. Sexuality can be fluid along the course of a person’s life.”
For starters: Oh, boy. (Can we even say that anymore?)
What if a child wants to refer to his mom as his “mom” or his dad as his “dad”? That’s a problem?
As The New York Post Editorial Board pointed out about this troubling development, “This is an actual trend. In the UK, the University of Manchester has also scrapped the words ‘mother’ and ‘father’ for ‘guardians.’ Its guide also nixes ‘elderly,’ ‘pensioners,’ and ‘youngsters’ for sterile terms such as ‘over-65s, 75s and so on.’”
It’s all a bit much.
As one letter writer told The Post, “To create a disconnect between how young children refer to their family members at home and at school will only cause more confusion and anxiety.”
The school is defending its language guide. “The Inclusive Language Guide at issue in the press, which we shared with you this fall, comes from that place in our hearts and mission,” read a statement from George Davison, the head of school, as USA Today reported. “It is designed to help the adults in the community find words to affirm and unite.”
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Maureen Mackey is a writer, editor, web content executive, and regular contributor to Christian News Journal.