The Inclusive Language Guide produced by the American Socialist Teacher’s Union has recently come under attack by both the National Organization of Conservative Parents and the American Florist Organization. The language guide states that “traditional family” is an outdated term and that teachers should try to undo notions of a ‘typical’ or ‘normal’ family structure by substituting words such as “grown-ups,” “folks,” “family” or “guardians” as an alternative to “mom,” “mother,” “dad,” “father” or “parents.”
Georgie Porgie, president of the ASTU states that “The modern family structure is diverse and we recommend inclusive language that reflects this diversity. Teachers should refrain from making assumptions about who kids live with, who cares for them, whether they sleep in the same place every night, whether they see their parents, etc.”
The language guide also recommends teachers address their students in a gender-neutral manner, using “people,” “folks,” “friends,” “readers” or “students” rather than as “boys and girls,” “guys” or “ladies and gentlemen.”
According to NOCP president Alice Cooper, “Each child is supposed to have Individualized Learning Plan that travels with them from grade to grade. This file contains family information which teachers should know. It should be updated each year. If parents are together, if the child is being raised by a single parent, grandparent or legal guardian, it is in the file. While I can understand using a generic phrase such as tell “your parents or guardians,” but there is simply no reason to do this with an individual child.
Harold Periwinkle, president of the American Florist Organization, also expresses concern. “The breakdown of the traditional family is certainly of concern,” states Periwinkle. “Some of our members are reporting a drop in sales for Mother’s Day, Father’s Day and Grandparent’s Day. I really can’t see moving to a “Grown-ups Day” or “My Guardian Day.” I mean, it sounds like you are in jail!”
American Greetings declined to comment on the movement towards “Inclusive Language.”
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