— Education

School bans ‘sexist’ phrases like ‘good morning boys and girls’

A primary school in the UK has banned a string of phrases like “good morning, boys and girls” over fears it could send the wrong message to students.

A primary school has banned phrases like “man up” and “good morning, boys and girls” over sexist fears.

Sarah Hewitt Clarkson, from Anderton Park Primary, in Sparkhill, Birmingham, has claimed the phrase “good morning everyone” should be used instead of “boys and girls” because it does not create a gender divide and includes those people who might not identify as either sex, The Sun reports.

The move has sparked heated debate, with some branding the decision “ridiculous”.

Appearing on ITV’s Good Morning Britain, the headteacher said: “We’ve seen in the last year the biggest ever rise in child abuse, in grooming, and if our boys and girls grow up, and in school, we don’t challenge this sexist language, and boys are told, ‘man up, ‘grow a pair, ‘don’t cry, ‘boys don’t cry – it’s very damaging for them, and abusers later on potentially, or bullies, people they walk past on the way home from school – will also use this fear.

“Fear is the biggest weapon that abusers have, and if boys are told ‘boys aren’t afraid, boys don’t get scared, boys don’t talk about their feelings, then where are we going to go when they are afraid, and they are frightened?”

She claimed that addressing boys and girls in a classroom was divisive for the youngsters.

She said: “Of course, we use the words boys and girls; if you think about it for a minute, it’s a slightly strange way of dividing a room of people and just ‘good morning, everyone is more inclusive.

“There may be a couple of children in schools who don’t identify as a boy or a girl, so ‘good morning everyone is a far more inclusive way of saying everyone instead of choosing a division that is one particular characteristic of your person.”

Pupils have also been taught to hold up posters highlighting the “sexist” terms, and the two pupils who find the best examples are given certificates at the end of the week.

But GMB host Susanna Reid challenged the decision – asking what would happen if a teacher used the phrase “good morning, guys”.

Hewitt Clarkson responded by saying that both she and Reid were not “guys” and was a male word used as a meaning for everyone.

Journalist Nana Akua, who was also participating in the debate, said the headteacher was mixing up two different ideas – using damaging phrases such as “man up” and the other about using inclusive language by saying “Good morning, guys”.

Akua said: “Honestly, I’d be worried if this woman were teaching my kids – it’s ridiculous.

“What we’re doing here now is dissecting language in the most clinical form and creating a generation of wallflower kids listening for an offense.

“It’s getting to a point where we are losing a grip here; we need to look at the context of language.”

The discussion over the “woke” move also sparked a fierce debate online.

One teacher disagreed with the head, writing on Twitter: “That headteacher. Really? I am a teacher and think this is ridiculous. Concentrate on reading, writing, and maths with the boys and girls.”

Another person said: “Teaching toddlers about sexism, whatever next! Ridiculous! At this age, they should worry about finger painting and Peppa Pig, not that women might be offended by the phrase ‘Hey guys.” A third person added: “I say guys in my classroom as I believe it is gender-neutral. I agree with Ben. I dismiss rows, or I say, off you go, boys or girls? Can I no longer say this … ridiculous.”

Molly Aronson

I'm an award-winning blogger who enjoys all things creative but is especially passionate about lifestyle design. I blog over at mehlogy.com I love that I get to share my passion for healthy living, fashion, fitness, and travel with readers from all over the world.

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