Alex Hems, Head's Blog 7 June
I know that we have all been appalled and angered by recent events, which reveal how much there is still to be achieved in stamping out racism in our world.
Racism, homophobia and all other forms of prejudice are unacceptable at St George’s and will not be tolerated. It is appropriate to re-state this and make explicit our abhorrence of prejudice in all its forms. We are a community based on respect. This is embedded in our motto, Trouthe and Honour, Fredom and Curteisye and in all the values that we hold dear. We would not tolerate sexist language, that is so often dismissed as banter, knowing how it erodes personal dignity and self-esteem, and indeed diminishes those who use such language and hold such views. This, as a girls’ school, we take for granted. We are and always have been a school that values and celebrates the contribution of every member. We are all deeply fortunate at St George’s to be part of a community where so much is taken for granted, that is not by any means a routine part of life for so many around the world. It is therefore all the more incumbent on us to ensure that we uphold the highest standards in our behaviour.
To take this on board fully demands reflection on the language we use and on our underlying attitudes. The words of our motto require that we are honest with ourselves as well as with those around us, that we treat others with the respect and generosity of spirit that we would wish to experience ourselves and that we value the human dignity of every member of our community.
Going forward, it is up to us all to ensure that we maintain and uphold the highest standards in all of these areas. Every member of our school community is entitled to feel safe, valued and respected at school. We may be dispersed at the moment but I hope that these values hold us together wherever we are. Our school policies make this clear, and I am making it clear now, that language and conduct that do not accord with these expectations will not be tolerated at St George’s. We want to continue to work with our student body and especially our newly elected leadership team, to find ways to make sure that this explicit rejection of racism and all forms of prejudice is integral to all that we do and is upheld across the school, now and for always.
Mrs Alex Hems MA Oxon
Head, St George's School for Girls, Edinburgh