Harpeth Hall clarifies admission policy to parents, remains all-girls school

Published: Aug. 18, 2022 at 7:29 PM CDT
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WSMV) - A Nashville all-girls private school that announced last week it would allow anyone who identifies as female to apply to attend the school has rescinded that approach.

Harpeth Hall sent a letter to members of the school’s community on Thursday stating that the school has heard the feedback on the matter and will continue to “serve girls and young women;” not anyone who identifies as a female.

“Last week, the Harpeth Hall Board of Trustees shared with current parents and school alumnae a gender diversity philosophy, which was intended to offer clarity about how the school approaches gender identity at Harpeth Hall,” the school said in the letter on Thursday.

“We recognize that this philosophy elicited strong reactions of support and opposition beyond our expectations. 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.”

More than 300 Harpeth Hall community members signed a letter sent to the school on Monday asking for a meeting with school administrators, committee members and board members involved in the creation and adoption of the policy.

“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,” the letter stated. “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 a major change. Harpeth Hall’s reputation is damaged and we would all like to be part of the process of fixing it.”

In Thursday’s letter, the school said it did not and does not wish to make any changes to the school’s longstanding admissions policy.

“We would like to take this opportunity to clarify that Harpeth Hall did not and does not wish to make any changes to the school’s longstanding admission practices. Harpeth Hall was founded to serve girls and young women, and that is a key differentiator in selecting this school over coed options. We, as the Board of Trustees, reaffirm the school’s mission and vision to be a place where young women can grow into leaders.”