Statement on the use of biased language at ASL
The American School in London is committed to creating a caring and supportive environment in which children flourish. As articulated in our DEI statement, “ASL upholds the right to an educational experience in which diverse identities, experiences and ideas are recognized and human dignity is affirmed.” To enable students to experience the fulfillment that comes from actively and fully participating in a learning environment in which their full identity is honored and supported, it is crucial that we strive to build a school community that models responsible personal and social behavior. Based on this core belief, we will not tolerate the use of biased language between members of our community or for any biased language to be spoken aloud in classrooms.
Biased language is defined as words and phrases that are prejudiced, offensive and hurtful when related to ability, appearance, culture, gender, home language, race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation or social class. The use of biased language may prevent students from feeling safe and experiencing a sense of belonging in school. ASL’s commitment to creating an inclusive environment for all members of our school community is evidenced in the language of our school mission statement, diversity, equity and inclusion statement, safeguarding policies, anti-bullying policy, anti-bullying statement, and statement on harassment.
We recognize that students’ individual identities create lenses through which they interact with curricular materials that use biased language. For this reason, teachers must choose developmentally appropriate materials that represent the best examples for their intended purpose while ensuring that a diversity of voices and authors are represented. When curricular resources such as literature or historical documents contain biased language, we must provide a context for understanding the use of this language prior to exposure.