The renowned all-girls prep school, Harpeth Hall, released a statement confirming there acceptance of all females this week.
An elite all-girls school asserted its stance on gender identity this week with a statement released to families about the school’s admittance policy. Harpeth Hall has been one of the nation’s most prestigious female-only college prep schools since it first welcomed girls into the Nashville, Tennessee school back in 1865. It has served many women who have gone on to hold prominent careers and was even home to celebrities like Reese Witherspoon and Amy Grant. Now, however, the private school isn’t necessarily making headlines for its academia, but instead for making the school’s viewpoint known on the controversial topic of gender identity as it concerns students and schools.
According to a report from The Tennessean, the renowned academy released a statement on Tuesday, August 9th, confirming that the school welcomed all females to apply, encompassing all that identify this way. Specifically, the school wrote, “Any student who identifies as a girl may apply to our school.” As it pertains to potential students not necessarily born of the female gender, Harpeth Hall noted that it would take these non-binary and transgender candidates into a case by case consideration.
While some news outlets are reporting that this is a new policy for the elite school, officials with Harpeth Hall affirm that no changes have been made to the school’s admission policy. Jessica Bliss, the director of marketing and communication made note of this saying that the prep school has always chosen admissions based on this. Even if the school is only now truly coming out and affirming they accept “all females”, the truth is that they have likely admitted transgender students in the past.
More than likely, the school was simply confirming its viewpoint amid a growing culture war that is centering on education discussions around LGBTQ+ issues and gender identity. More and more states have been restricting transgender females’ rights in the school setting over the past year. Harpeth Hall is now making it publicly known where they stand on the matter.
Going on with this notion and support of transgender-identifying students, the statement emphasized that Harpeth Hall facilitates a safe learning environment for all students, welcoming them to express their gender identity openly if they choose. The statement incorporated words like “kindness” and “belonging” to stress their view. As for cases concerning students applying to the school who are gender-nonconforming or who go by they/them pronouns, the institute stated that it would handle each case separately and work with families to determine if the school could meet their needs.
As institutes like Harpeth Hall make their position on contentious gender identity debates well-known, many people feel that this need to do so may come from the growing amount of people who are now openly coming out as transgender. According to a recent study from the Pew Research Center, only a little over 1% of the overall American population is transgender. However, in a growing fashion, more young adults are coming out this way, as roughly 5% of this age group now identified as different sex from with they were assigned at birth.