Nashville School for Girls unveils new policy allowing ANYONE who identifies as female to enroll

An elite girls’ school in Nashville has unveiled a new policy that opens enrollment to transgender women.

Harpeth Hall released a letter to parents on Tuesday stating that “any student who identifies as a girl can apply to our school” and that the institution supports gender identity.

The $33,000-a-year Tennessee prep school that trained actress Reese Witherspoon and singer Amy Grant says there have been ‘no changes’ to the application process admission which is “open to all students”.

The school reiterated that its environment is female-centered and that the new policy provides a safe space for students to express their gender identity.

The policy comes a month after a new state law took effect imposing stiff penalties on public schools that allow trans athletes to participate in women’s sports.

Harpeth Hall’s memo did not address trans students participating in its sports, however, as a private school, it is not necessarily bound by the newly enacted law.

Harpeth Hall, an elite girls’ school in Nashville that costs $33,000 a year, unveiled a new policy that opens enrollment to transgender women

Harpeth Hall released a letter to parents on Tuesday stating that

Harpeth Hall released a letter to parents on Tuesday stating that ‘any student who identifies as a girl can apply to our school’ and that the institution supports gender identity

The school said its decision to open enrollment to all people who identify as women underscores the institution’s commitment to fostering an “inclusive educational environment.”

“As the world changes, so do our students. The concept of gender has broadened and deepened over time,” reads the letter to parents.

“The cultural dialogue around gender is evolving rapidly. At Harpeth Hall, we are inspired and guided by the mission of our girls’ school and work every day to live our purpose fully and truly.

The new policy came after school administration, faculty and the board’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee came together to better understand gender identity.

The team consulted with experts in the field, read educational articles on the subject, and spoke with other girls’ schools before deciding to expand its admissions policy.

The school said its decision to open enrollment to all people who identify as women underscores the institution's commitment to fostering a

The school said its decision to open enrollment to all people who identify as women underscores the institution’s commitment to fostering an “inclusive educational environment.”

The letter to parents provided brief guidelines on admissions, but used open language and emphasized an individual basis for enrollment decisions.

“Harpeth Hall is an all-girls school,” the letter said. “The school culture is unique and specifically for girls, with the use of references to students as girls and young women and a collective use of female pronouns.”

The document goes on to say that students join the school because the mission and the women-centered environment resonate with them.

In the case of non-binary students or those who use them, pronouns will be handled individually, the school said. Harpeth Hall would work with individual families to meet student needs.

The policy also noted that a trans male student using he/him pronouns cannot be “served” by an all-girls school. The institution would work directly with these families to determine next steps.

“We view this recognition as the ultimate form of respect: an understanding that we support the individual and the gender identity of the student,” the statement regarding the school’s male transgender students reads.

In the case of non-binary students or those who use them, pronouns will be handled individually, the school said.  The policy also noted that a trans male student using he/him pronouns cannot be “served” by an all-girls school.

In the case of non-binary students or those who use them, pronouns will be handled individually, the school said. The policy also noted that a trans male student using he/him pronouns cannot be “served” by an all-girls school.

The elite university institution has several notable alumni, including actress Reese Witherspoon.  She is pictured speaking to students at Harpeth Hall on November 12, 2015

Singer Amy Grant was also educated at the school.  She is pictured in March 2022

The elite university institution has several notable alumni, including actress Reese Witherspoon (left) and singer Amy Grant (right)

Jessica Bliss, director of marketing and communications at Harpeth Hall, said The Tennessian the school’s statement “does not reflect a change in admissions policy.”

“We are and always have been an independent all-girls school,” Bliss explained. “There have been no changes to Harpeth Hall’s application process, which is open to any student.”

She said the policy allows students a safe environment to express themselves

“We teach girls to respect each other and appreciate their differences,” Bliss said. “Each girl is unique in her own way. Harpeth Hall fosters a community of kindness and belonging.

News of the policy drew mixed reactions online, with some Tennessees expressing outrage, while others echoed the school’s assertion that it supports all women.

“I love my trans sisters at Harpeth Hall!” Paw down always,” student Chloe tweeted. “The tram girls are young girls! They deserve the same education as us girls at Harpeth Hall. I feel very strong to have them by my side.

News of the policy drew mixed reactions online, with some Tennessees expressing outrage, while others echoed the school's assertion that it supports all women.

News of the policy drew mixed reactions online, with some Tennessees expressing outrage, while others echoed the school’s assertion that it supports all women.

“Harpeth Hall has lost his mind. Accept boys who identify as girls???!!!’ Brentwood resident Lara Moses Whitaker posted on Facebook.

“God, now my beloved Tennessee will wake up…” Kathy Pence Suddath tweeted, commenting on radio show host Clay Travis’ seemingly negative post about politics.

Rachel Dean, a Harpeth Hall alumnus, commented on the Twitter thread, saying: ‘I’m proud to say I’ve been to Harpeth Hall. This thread disgusts me – so much hate!’

“Proud Harpeth Hall alumnus,” echoed Melissa H. “I wonder who this loser is and why he thinks his opinion of HH matters.”

School principal Jess Hill (pictured) has yet to comment on the policy

School principal Jess Hill (pictured) has yet to comment on the policy

School principal Jess Hill has yet to comment on the policy, but her open letter on the school’s website, touts cultivate a school community that “encourages academic curiosity, fosters belonging, and prepares girls to become determined young women ready to make a meaningful difference in the world around them.”

“At Harpeth Hall, girls learn to trust their opinions and respect the power of their voice,” she wrote. “They also learn to listen in order to learn and understand. Here, all students are seen, heard and valued.

“We do not seek perfection, rather we value progress. We encourage students to take healthy risks, even if they make mistakes, because we all learn better that way. We know that building confidence and resilience goes hand in hand with learning how to lead yourself and others.

Last month, a new state law went into effect banning transgender athletes from participating in women’s sports.

The bill, which was signed into law by Republican Gov. Bill Lee, took effect July 1 and adds tough penalties against public schools that violate the ban.

It’s unclear whether Harpeth Hall will allow trans athletes to compete on its sports teams, as the school did not address this in its letter.

Additionally, Tennessee has enacted legislation that would prevent trans women from competing on college sports teams in accordance with their gender identity.

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