School Principal Bans Teachers From Saying ‘Good Morning Boys And Girls’ In Classrooms

A British headteacher, the equivalent of a school principal, has banned teachers from using the phrase “good morning boys and girls” to address students in class. Sarah Hewitt-Clarkson from Anderton Park Primary School in Birmingham wants to ban sexist language from the school and has ruled out the usage of phrases like “man up” and “grow a pair” in addition to addressing students as “boys and girls.”


  1. Clarkson believes using gendered, sexist language is “damaging.” Appearing on the British TV show Good Morning Britain, Clarkson said that banning the language from her school is for the students’ benefit as she sees how its usage has affected them. She sees no reason why language used in schools can’t be more inclusive and welcoming for all students.
  2. Using sexist phrases could even prove dangerous, Clarkson says. “In the last year, we have seen the biggest ever increase in child abuse and grooming. If our boys, and girls, grow up and we don’t address this sexist language where boys are told to ‘man up,’ ‘grow a pair,’ ‘boys don’t cry,’ it is very damaging for them,” she explained. “Abusers later on, or bullies, will also use this fear. Fear is the biggest weapon that abusers have. If boys are told that boys aren’t afraid, boys don’t get scared, boys don’t talk about their feelings, then where are they going to go when they are afraid?”
  3. Not everyone is a fan of the move. While some people believe that encouraging gender-neutral language is a positive thing, others think it’s a step too far. Broadcaster Nana Akua insisted it’s all about context and that if her own children were students at Anderton Park, she’d be extremely concerned. “What we are doing here is dissecting language in the most clinical form and creating a generation of wallflower kids who are listening for an offense,” she said. “I go to schools and I lecture in schools and I talk to kids. Can you imagine if I went to her school and said, ‘Good morning guys’? It is getting to the point where we are losing grip here. We need to be looking at the context of language and that’s what I’ll be teaching my children.”
  4. Of course, I doubt NOT using this language will hurt kids. At the end of the day, saying “hello everyone” instead of “hello boys and girls” isn’t going to damage students or make them feel bad about themselves. It’s inclusive language that’s an easy switch to make. Is saying “boys and girls” the end of the world? No, of course not, but if small steps can be made to make sure everyone feels included, why not take them?


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