‘Stop calling my girls snowflakes’: Head teacher of leading private school defends ‘woke’ pupils and says older people should take their concerns seriously
- Samantha Price, head of Benenden School in Kent, defended pupils called ‘woke’
- She said it’s wrong to dismiss young people demanding change as ‘snowflakes’
- The headmistress added it could lead people to giving up on equality campaigns
The headmistress of a leading private girls’ school has defended ‘woke’ pupils and demanded older generations stop labelling them ‘snowflakes’.
Samantha Price, head of Benenden School in Kent, said that dismissing students who demand change could mean they give up on equality and sustainability campaigns.
Mrs Price, president of the Girls’ Schools Association, will tell her organisation’s annual conference in Manchester that some parents are ‘deeply unsettled’ about issues such as gender identity and should be helped to understand the ‘new language’ around such topics.
Samantha Price, head of Benenden School in Kent, said that dismissing students who demand change could mean they give up on equality and sustainability campaigns
But she will call on school leaders to challenge anyone who dismisses the younger generation as ‘woke’, ‘snowflakes’ or a part of the ‘cancel culture’.
Mrs Price said: ‘I think that if they are consistently dismissed in this way then what will happen is that they will just give up.
As they go into their 20s and into further maturity, what was such a passion for them will end up just going by the wayside.’
In a speech to more than 100 heads of private girls’ schools, Mrs Price will also criticise references to teenagers as being ‘woke’ and adults who comment that they cannot say anything without being ‘called out’ by young people.
She will say: ‘It would be unforgivable for the older generation to close its mind to new ideas, to retreat to “the good old days” and dismiss the energetic changes of this generation as something to be referred to in derogatory tones and sighs.
Benenden School in Kent (pictured). The leading private girls’ school’s headmistress has defended ‘woke’ pupils and demanded older generations stop labelling them ‘snowflakes’
‘What has really struck me is that this so-called ‘woke’ generation are actually simply young people who care about things: about causes, about the planet, about people.
‘It ultimately comes down to something very simple: being kind.’
Pupils have been demanding action on an array of issues after a number of high-profile movements – including Black Lives Matter and efforts at combating sexual harassment – gained momentum during the pandemic.
However Mrs Price drew the line at ‘walking out of class over climate’, explaining that does not think that ‘standing in a street with a banner’ will have much of an impact on the fight against climate change.
Many schools have changed commemorative names in the wake of anti-racism protests, including in Bristol, where institutions have shifted away from being associated with slave trader Edward Colston after his statue was toppled by a mob.
A school in East Sussex also said it was dropping Winston Churchill as a house name after pupils protested that he ‘promoted racism and inequality’ and was guilty of torture, while in Yorkshire a primary school changed the names of its houses from Sir Walter Raleigh, Admiral Nelson and Francis Drake after a former pupil said they supported ‘institutionalised racism’.