A top UK girls school has banned the collective address of “girls” to avoid causing offense to transgender students who may feel offended by the gendered language.
Instead, a more gender-neutral approach will be favored. Staff who use the term “girls” may face internal disciplinary action.
Altrincham Grammar School for Girls in Manchester, UK, may opt for the gender-neutral “students” in a communication to parents, which led to some confusion.
According to RT, Head teacher, Stephanie Gill, explained the decision in the communication, writing about “the challenges facing our students who are questioning their gender identity or who do not identify as girls.”
Altrincham Grammar School for Girls does not accept male pupils, but the headteacher made it clear that parents “may have noticed that we have moved to using gender-neutral language in all our communications with students and parents. We are working to break ingrained habits in the way we speak to and about students, particularly referring to them collectively as ‘girls.’”
Gill went on to point out “for many transgender students, being misgendered can be very hurtful” and that her staff have shown cooperation, wishing to facilitate the successful implementation of these policies.
Despite the staff’s determination to stick to the internal policy, avoiding disciplinary action, the decision has elicited criticism.
Speaking with the BBC, a local resident said, “It’s ridiculous. We live in an age where we have to respect people’s views and if people have issues around gender and sexuality, we have to understand that. But girls should be referred to as girls.”
On another note, the school ranked sixth on the Sunday Times’ list of best UK public schools after stellar performances in public examinations.