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Prestigious DC school drafts policy to expel students over 'misplaced humor,' among other 'harmful' language

Al Drago/Raleigh News & Observer/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

Administrators at one of the nation's oldest and most prestigious private schools have drafted a policy to punish any and all "harmful" language — including "misplaced humor" — by expulsion, according to leaked documents obtained by the Washington Free Beacon.

The news outlet reported Tuesday that the draft "anti-bias" policy has recently circulated within administrative ranks at St. Alban's School in Washington, D.C., a famed all-boys educational institution whose alumni include former vice presidents and two current U.S. senators.

The new policy reportedly seeks to crack down on what it calls "harmful" speech and takes the controversial approach of prioritizing the impact of the speech over the intent of the speaker. Under the new guidelines, students can be expelled even after a single infraction.

Here's more from the Free Beacon:

"It is the impact of hate speech, rather than the intent of those perpetrating it, that is of utmost importance," the draft policy states. As such, boys could be expelled "even in the case of a single expression, act, or gesture"—including "misplaced humor," which the policy says "should be reported immediately to the student's adviser."

Reporting infractions would fall to students, teachers, and parents. "We also expect that anyone, whether student, faculty, staff, or family member, who witnesses, or has knowledge of an incident of hate speech, will report the incident to the appropriate individual," the draft policy reads, clarifying that nobody will be punished for making "a good faith report."

The Free Beacon noted that it is not entirely clear whether the policy is still in its draft stages or whether it has gone into effect, as St. Albans has not responded to requests for comment from the outlet. But the outlet noted the policy changes have likely been in the works for more than a year.

St. Alban's, once considered old-fashioned and more conservative in comparison to its elite private school counterparts, has in recent years fallen under the same progressive sway experienced at other institutions.

In July 2020, following the death of George Floyd, the school announced plans to significantly expand its "Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion" efforts. As part of the drive, the school publicly committed to "developing a new policy for inclusion in the Student Handbook that specifically addresses racial hate speech."

Other progressive initiatives have been undertaken, as well, including the scrapping of Columbus Day in favor of "Indigenous Peoples' Day" and the school's sponsorship of an "Alliance of White Antiracists."

At least one alumnus has found the changes disheartening.

"St. Albans used to have a simple honor code: Don't lie, cheat, or steal," the alumnus told the Free Beacon. "Everything else was adjudicated human-to-human. Now boys are being policed for humor and innocuous comments are subject to the highest form of punishment."

St. Alban's new policy is reminiscent of the uber-woke speech code implemented at Grace Church School in NoHo, where students are advised against using offensive terms such as "mom and dad" and "Merry Christmas."

Other similar policies have been implemented in schools across the country.

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