In the continuing crusade to remold the English language in the name of gender-inclusiveness, a high school in Massachusetts has decided to abolish the offensive term “freshmen” in favor of the politically correct “first year students.”
By cleaning up its language, the administration of Easthampton High School is responding to a recommendation from the school’s Gender and Sexuality Alliance Group, which scoured the school’s handbook for signs of sexism and indicated how the school could make its language more gender neutral.
— ABC6 (@wsyx6) December 18, 2017
The new version of the Easthampton High School handbook states that “for the purpose of class meetings and activities, including the class dues, students will be considered first years, sophomores, juniors, and seniors.”
School Committee members reportedly reached a consensus “that the change to gender neutral language was a simple, sensible way to foster a more inclusive and equitable environment, and was in concert with the many transformations underway at our district,” according to School Committee Policy Subcommittee chairwoman Marissa Carrere.
The superintendent of the school, Nancy Follansbee, issued a statement saying that students could still say freshmen to refer to ninth graders if they choose to.
“Currently High School students would have the right of free speech to use the term ‘freshmen’,” James Winston, Esq. said. “The school would have a very high bar to show that there was some type of harm that would happen with that term being used.”
“Changing the way we use pronouns has been a challenge for me,” said Eileen Corbeil of Easthampton. “I want people to feel comfortable and if it means that I have to change the way I use my language, I’m ok with that.”
Easthampton High School was recently obliged to undergo diversity and inclusiveness training after an investigation last May by the Attorney General’s office into allegations of “violence, racial tension, and hate” at the school.
In March, three minority students reportedly assaulted a white student in the school parking lot, after the victim used racial slurs online. Another student wore a sweatshirt to school with an image of the Confederate flag, which now has been formally banned.
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