A New York City school has released a 12-page guide that offers students and staff alternative words to use instead of “mom” and “dad”.

In a mission to be more inclusive and reflect how different families look nowadays, The Grace Church School in NoHo is encouraging students to move away from using “mom” and “dad”. According to the Grace Inclusive Language Guide, “This guide addresses ways we can remove harmful assumptions from the way we interact with each other.”

Modern families have two mommies or two daddies. Using “mom” or “dad” does not reflect this reality. “Using gender-inclusive language can provide critical affirmation to students across the gender spectrum,” the school says.

Instead of using “boy” or “girl”, Grace encourages students to use “people, folks, friends, readers, etc.”

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And instead of “mom” or “dad”, students are encouraged to use “folks, guardians, or parents.”

The comprehensive guide offers links for kids to familiarise themselves with different kinds of families. It also includes outdated words that children should not be using.

These include:

  • Traditional family
  • Real parents

The guide also encompasses lessons on sexuality and race, encouraging students to better understand the LGBTQ+ community and use acceptable words when referring to difference races instead of “Caucasian” and “Coloured”. Using words such as “homosexual” and “sexual preference” is discouraged.

In a South African context, the department of basic education’s (DBE) Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE) plan that forms part of the Life Orientation curriculum was met with immense criticism. Understanding sexuality and different orientations and sexual groups form a part of the curriculum.

American families have equally taken to the streets to protest against the implementation of inclusive lessons in schools.

Writing for The Guardian, Russell Hobby says “it is the exposure to multiple perspectives that gives young people the strongest start in life and the ability to make their own choices.”

The Grace Church School has taken these teachings forward, and is being criticised for “not being a real Christian school.”



Jake DeStratis

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