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An elite school for girls in grades 5-12 in Nashville, Tennessee, founded in 1865, has revealed it will accept biological males as part of its “expanded” approach to the “concept of gender.”
Harpeth Hall, whose alumnae include actresses Reese Witherspoon, Minnie Pearl, and singer Amy Grant, eliminated the school’s yearly George Washington Day in 2020. Its latest efforts into political correctness featured a message to parents outlining the new guidelines.
“As the world evolves, so do our students,” the school wrote. “The concept of gender has expanded and deepened over time. The members of our school community have asked good and important questions about gender inclusion and have looked for greater clarity on the school’s practices.”
The school was apparently referencing a student newspaper op-ed in March 2021 that complained, “While the school claims to support trans students, this support needs to be formalized. Additionally, practices must be implemented to ensure the inclusion of trans students because the assumption that all students at Harpeth Hall are cisgender and female does not accurately depict the student body and ostracizes trans students.”
“With this objective in mind, we have adopted the following guidelines that outline how Harpeth Hall approaches gender diversity within the context of our girls school mission,” the school’s message to the parents continued.
Then it stated:
Any student who identifies as a girl may apply to our school…. Harpeth Hall acknowledges the developmental journey of each student and recognizes that adolescence includes natural searching and questioning about many topics. For some students, this may include the question of gender identity and the desire to identify as nonbinary or use they/them pronouns.
Harpeth Hall approaches gender identity with understanding and open communication, rather than with shame or othering, and will provide a safe environment to partner with each student and family to consider the needs and requests of the student on an individual basis.
In an ironic twist, the school then wrote, “If a student communicates a desire to be identified as male or adopt he/him pronouns, we recognize that our school, being a girls school, may no longer be a place that serves that student well.”
Jessica Bliss, director of marketing and communications for the school, responded to the reaction to the school’s message.
“We are and always have been an all-girls independent school,” she said. “There has been no change to Harpeth Hall’s admission application process which is open to any female student.”
She added, “Each girl is unique in her own way.”