The headteacher at a primary school in Birmingham is phasing out ‘sexist’ language at the school. One of the phrases getting the chop “good morning boys and girls”. She says teachers will no longer be able to greet their students using this phrase. (1)
UK School Banning The Phrase “Good Morning Boys And Girls”
Headmistress Sarah Hewitt-Clarkson of Anderton Park Primary School in Birmingham, UK, wants to teach their students to reject all forms of ‘sexist’ language. Some of the banned phrases most people will agree with. These phrases include (2):
- Grow a pair
- Man up
- Boys don’t cry
Another phrase being banned is “good morning boys and girls”. (1)
“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. “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?” (1)
Has It Gone Too Far?
While yes, many of the mentioned terms are damaging and contribute to toxic masculinity, many of the teachers question why “good morning boys and girls” is also being banned. Hewitt-Clarkson says that it divides the classes unnecessarily, however, many are still opposed. (2)
“It’s absolutely ridiculous. What I think we are doing here now is dissecting language in the most clinical form, and then creating a generation of wallflower kids who are literally listening for an offence.” said broadcaster Nana Akua. (2)
She says rather than banning some of these phrases, we should be teaching children about context and how to use language in a non-offensive way. (1) Hewitt-Clarkson is used to this kind of pushback from teachers, parents, and the public. In 2019, she began teaching students about equal rights for the LGBTQ+ community. This led to anti-LGBTQ+ ‘activists’ protesting outside of the school gates. (2) What do you think? Do you agree with the headmistress, or do you think she is focusing on the wrong things?