Harpeth Hall leaders announce a 'pause' in gender philosophy adoption

Posted at 5:30 PM, Aug 18, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-19 08:47:30-04

A letter in early August circulating for Harpeth Hall students and faculty elicited feedback from the school community about the private institution's diversity and inclusion policy.

The letter said any student who identifies with female pronouns may apply to the 157-year-old institution. School leaders said they would approach communication about gender openly versus shaming or othering.

That idea is now paused, according to a new letter from school leaders on Thursday.

"We recognize that this philosophy elicited strong reactions of support and opposition beyond our expectations," wrote Jess Hill, head of school, and the board of trustees. "We care deeply about your feedback, and we have heard you. Based on the response from our school community, the Harpeth Hall Board of Trustees is choosing to pause the adoption of the philosophy in order to engage a wider audience in continued discussion."

Leaders wrote the school was meant to serve girls and young women, which made it separate from other co-ed options in the Nashville area.

"It is abundantly clear how much our community loves this school and cares about its path forward," Hill and the trustees wrote. "More than anything, the Board wants to see our students and this school thrive. We want to ensure that Harpeth Hall maintains its welcoming and thoughtful approach to how we educate girls while staying true to its foundation as an all-girls school."

Leaders said they would notify the school community about the next steps.