Cambridge Public School Committee Begins Plan To Make Forms and Communications More Gender-Inclusive

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Cambridge School Committee members have set in motion a plan to make their paperwork more gender-inclusive.

The committee will perform what members call a “comprehensive review” of the school district’s forms and communications to conform them with “best practices” regarding gender-inclusivity in language.

The plan, in the form of a joint motion from committee member David Weinstein and committee vice chairman Rachel Weinstein on Tuesday, December 20, finds that “some Cambridge public school district forms and communications use gendered language that is not inclusive, such as the use of or absence of terms and pronouns.”

“It’s not our intention for these to be out of alignment with these practices,” Weinstein said, regarding the forms and communications that the school district uses, during the December 20 meeting. But he continued, “it has happened, and it’s imperative that we get that fixed, ASAP, because the use of these outdated terms and noninclusive language causes harm. It’s not the intention, but it is the impact.”

Weinstein said that the top priority of the motion is “for our young people to feel seen and included and affirmed,” but also emphasized the “power of language,” pointing out that “the more we all adopt the language of saying ‘he/she/they’ or ‘child’ or ‘student’ instead of ‘him’ or ‘her,’ the more our own thinking will evolve, and that’s really important and powerful for the educational experience of all of our children and educators, be they nonbinary or not.”

The motion has a deadline of December 2023, but committee members plan to finish the forms needed for the beginning of the school year before the 2023-2024 school year begins in September 2023.

The discussion did not make clear precisely what “best practices” for gender-inclusive language are, nor in what ways the current forms and communications fail to follow them. NewBostonPost requested comment from the committee members on Tuesday, December 27. The committee did not respond by deadline.

An Australian legal society says “best practices” for gender-inclusive language in written forms and communications include:


  • Substituting gender-neutral terms for gendered ones, favoring words like “everybody,” or “folks,” instead of “ladies,” or “gentlemen.”
  • Using the gender-neutral pronouns “they” or “them” when referring to a singular person instead of the masculine default of “his” or “him.”
  • Replacing pronouns altogether with the subject noun, indefinite article, or verb, depending on the context, or simply
  • Eliminating the pronoun altogether.


The move by the Cambridge school district is part of a recent trend over the last several years of Massachusetts public schools trying to become more gender-inclusive. Earlier this month, NewBostonPost reported on Chelmsford public schools using gingerbread men to teach eleven-year-olds there are infinite genders. In March 2022, NewBostonPost reported that Hadley public schools were doing the same thing.

Many Massachusetts public school systems, including those of Belmont, Malden, and Wareham, have made “Father,” and “Mother,” “Parent 1,” and “Parent 2” on registration forms.

On December 19, NewBostonPost reported that the non-binary population was up 366 percent over three years.


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