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(LifeSiteNews) — On August 17, we reported the story of an announcement by the prestigious Tennessee all-girls school Harpeth Hall that biological boys who identified as girls could be admitted as students. The news was also covered by a range of conservative outlets and the story went viral both nationally and internationally — and this provoked a massive backlash. Within days, Harpeth Hall announced that it would be pausing the “gender diversity philosophy,” and it has been reported that staff held Zoom calls with hundreds of concerned parents and alumni over the policy.

Discussions are still ongoing, as Harpeth Hall finds itself trapped between those who insist that biological boys identify as girls are girls and the outrage they face from many parents who send their girls to a female-only school for a reason. WSMV 4 has now obtained letters highlighting internal division “within the Harpeth Hall community,” with over 1,000 donors, parents, and alumni signing a letter opposing the policy, with a follow-up anonymous letter calling for a change in school leadership.

Signatories of the letter included prominent Nashville lawyers, business leaders, and doctors. The strongly-worded letter reads as follows:

Dear Mrs. Hill and Harpeth Hall Board of Trust,

We are writing to you today on behalf of a significant number of current parents, former parents, and alumnae. The past week has been challenging for everyone, regardless of viewpoint. One thing on which we all agree is that, you, the faculty and the board, care deeply about our girls and Harpeth Hall as an institution. With that in mind, nothing can surpass a parent’s love and concern for a daughter. Adopting a policy that invites application to Harpeth Hall by anyone other than females is a critical change in the structure of the school, and by extension, has a major impact on our daughters.

We understand deeply the need for each and every child to be supported and to find the best environment for each stage of their development. We also admire every parent that seeks to find the very best environment for their unique child. Nashville presents many options, including schools spread across every social and educational dimension – who accept and develop children without consideration of sex/gender. But we chose Harpeth Hall intentionally because of its educational excellence, its many traditions, and, yes, its focus on girls. As much as many see issues of sex/gender as very complex, there is also a simple approach for our school: that Harpeth Hall selects and develops girls across a wide spectrum of backgrounds, but only girls, girls at birth who also identify as girls today. We feel strongly that this is ideal for our daughters and granddaughters, and will allow them to develop and grow, compete, and thrive without the distractions and complexities of boys, born or declared, in the classroom, and on the fields and stages.

A significant number of families and donors in the Harpeth Hall community, including those copied on this message, feel that the administration and board at Harpeth Hall have failed to include us in the process of considering such major change. Harpeth Hall’s reputation is damaged and we would all like to be part of the process of fixing it. We respectfully request a live, open-forum town hall, with all school administrators, committee members, and board members involved in the creation and adoption of this policy. Given recent damage to the Harpeth Hall brand nationally and internationally, the matter is urgent. We submit the following dates and times to you to be held in Harpeth Hall’s main gym with no media, crisis management, or PR teams present.

In lieu of the requested in-person meetings, Harpeth Hall staff has instead been holding virtual discussions. LGBT groups like the Human Rights Campaign are already expressing disappointment in the decision to pause the policy, and are no doubt also exerting enormous pressure behind the scenes.

In the meantime, however, the Harpeth Hall situation once again underlines an important lesson: When parents and citizens of good will push back against radical policies that the majority of Americans do not support, they can create real change. The work of conservative journalists and activists in bringing these policies to light is essential.

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Jonathon Van Maren is a public speaker, writer, and pro-life activist. His commentary has been translated into more than eight languages and published widely online as well as print newspapers such as the Jewish Independent, the National Post, the Hamilton Spectator and others. He has received an award for combating anti-Semitism in print from the Jewish organization B’nai Brith. His commentary has been featured on CTV Primetime, Global News, EWTN, and the CBC as well as dozens of radio stations and news outlets in Canada and the United States.

He speaks on a wide variety of cultural topics across North America at universities, high schools, churches, and other functions. Some of these topics include abortion, pornography, the Sexual Revolution, and euthanasia. Jonathon holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in history from Simon Fraser University, and is the communications director for the Canadian Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform.

Jonathon’s first book, The Culture War, was released in 2016.

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