Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Cruising the Web

Kerry Jackson of the Pacific Research Institute has an essay in the L.A. Times about poverty in California. Here is something I bet most people wouldn't guess.
Guess which state has the highest poverty rate in the country? Not Mississippi, New Mexico, or West Virginia, but California, where nearly one out of five residents is poor. That’s according to the Census Bureau’s Supplemental Poverty Measure, which factors in the cost of housing, food, utilities and clothing, and which includes noncash government assistance as a form of income.
So what's the deal. As Jackson writes, California has been spending hundreds of billions of dollars in the past quarter century to fight poverty and give out benefits to the poor. In fact, here's another startling statistic.
California, with 12% of the American population, is home today to about one in three of the nation’s welfare recipients.
Perhaps all this Democratic policy-making is the real problem.
The generous spending, then, has not only failed to decrease poverty; it actually seems to have made it worse.
California resisted the trend since the early 1990s to reform welfare and institute work requirements for recipients. But not California.
The state and local bureaucracies that implement California’s antipoverty programs, however, resisted pro-work reforms. In fact, California recipients of state aid receive a disproportionately large share of it in no-strings-attached cash disbursements. It’s as though welfare reform passed California by, leaving a dependency trap in place. Immigrants are falling into it: 55% of immigrant families in the state get some kind of means-tested benefits, compared with just 30% of natives.

Self-interest in the social-services community may be at fault. As economist William A. Niskanen explained back in 1971, public agencies seek to maximize their budgets, through which they acquire increased power, status, comfort and security. To keep growing its budget, and hence its power, a welfare bureaucracy has an incentive to expand its “customer” base. With 883,000 full-time-equivalent state and local employees in 2014, California has an enormous bureaucracy. Many work in social services, and many would lose their jobs if the typical welfare client were to move off the welfare rolls.
In addition, California has instituted policies at the local level that have driven housing prices up. There are restrictive land-use regulations as well as rent-control laws. And that is not all that California's government has done to hurt the poor.
Extensive environmental regulations aimed at reducing carbon dioxide emissions make energy more expensive, also hurting the poor. By some estimates, California energy costs are as much as 50% higher than the national average. Jonathan A. Lesser of Continental Economics, author of a 2015 Manhattan Institute study, “Less Carbon, Higher Prices,” found that “in 2012, nearly 1 million California households faced … energy expenditures exceeding 10% of household income. In certain California counties, the rate of energy poverty was as high as 15% of all households.”
And then there are the laws raising the minimum wage.
Looking to help poor and low-income residents, California lawmakers recently passed a measure raising the minimum wage from $10 an hour to $15 an hour by 2022 — but a higher minimum wage will do nothing for the 60% of Californians who live in poverty and don’t have jobs. And research indicates that it could cause many who do have jobs to lose them. A Harvard University study found evidence that “higher minimum wages increase overall exit rates for restaurants” in the Bay Area, where more than a dozen cities and counties, including San Francisco, have changed their minimum-wage ordinances in the last five years. “Estimates suggest that a one-dollar increase in the minimum wage leads to a 14% increase in the likelihood of exit for a 3.5-star restaurant (which is the median rating),” the report says. These restaurants are a significant source of employment for low-skilled and entry-level workers.
So no wonder there are so many needing welfare in California. As Rick Moran writes,
It has become so expensive to live in California that the cost of living actually becomes a disincentive to work. Poor people are better off accepting the generous benefits offered by state and local governments rather than going to work. In effect, the reason California is the poverty capital of America is that the state subsidizes poverty. When you subsidize something, you get more of it.

This simple formula eludes the dolts who run the state. They believe they can continue to tax and tax and spend and spend with no consequences to the economy or citizens of the state.

Lawmakers in Sacramento should take a close look at Illinois. This is their future – a nearly failed state, deeply in debt, with taxes so high that tens of thousands of residents are leaving the state every year. With so many resources, as well as Hollywood and Silicon Valley to pay for the state's generosity toward the poor, California has been able to avoid judgment day.

But eventually, the state will run out of other people's money, and the piper will have to be paid.
At some point, Californians will start to ask what their political leaders have been doing for so long and why things are getting worse.

I just finished discussing with my AP Government students the apportionment maps from 2000 and 2010. What is really noticeable is the movement since 2000 away from the rust belt and the move to the South and Southwest.
This latest reapportionment was the first time, except for 1920, that California didn't gain a seat since they joined the union in 1850.

There are indications that the loss of seats for Rust Belt states are going to continue according to statistics from United Van Lines of where people are moving to.
Illinois, New Jersey, and New York were the top states in the nation for outbound moves in 2017, according to data from United Van Lines.

United Van Lines, which tracks state-to-state migration patterns, found that Illinois was the top state for outbound migration with 63 percent of moves going out of state.

"The Northeast continues to experience a moving deficit with New Jersey (63 percent outbound), New York (61 percent) and Connecticut (57 percent) making the list of top outbound states for the third consecutive year," the report states. "Massachusetts (56 percent) also joined the top outbound list this year."

The other states that led the nation for the highest outbound migration were Kansas, Ohio, Kentucky, Utah, and Wisconsin.

The 10 states with the highest inbound migration were Vermont, Oregon, Idaho, Nevada, South Dakota, Washington, South Carolina, North Carolina, Colorado, and Alabama. The data find that more Americans are moving to the Mountain West and the South.

"As a region, the Mountain West continues to increase in popularity with 54 percent of moves being inbound," the report states. "The southern states also saw a high number of people moving in with 52 percent of total moves being inbound."
I'm surprised that Texas is not on that list given the big jump they took between 2000 and 2010. How demographic projections for 2020 based on what the Census Bureau has released does indicate that Texas will gain one or more seats. And the Rust Belt will continue to lose seats.

California might still be gaining population, but how much of that gain are people who are going to need welfare or middle-class workers who are going to be paying the taxes that the state needs to fund all its spending?

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Germany just instituted a "hate-speech" law and it's not going well. Social media companies will have to pay fines if they allow hate speech on their sites. So the companies are rushing to avoid fines by deleting messages, but their algorithms and policies are having trouble determining what qualifies as hate speech.
Within 72 hours of the law's debut, a satirical post mocking a German's politician's bigoted words was deleted by Twitter in an apparently proactive move. The 24-hour window for content removal is backed by €50m fines for each violation. Given the amount of money on the line, it's no surprise social media companies are trying to stay ahead of Germany's government when it comes to regulating speech. It's also no surprise Twitter, et al are relying heavily on users to help narrow down which questionable posts it should be looking at.
Even the government is realizing that they might have written a very bad law.
Germany signalled on Monday it was open to amending a controversial law combatting online hate speech as the justice minister fell victim to the rules he himself championed.

The move came after Twitter deleted a post by Heiko Maas dating back to 2010 before he was appointed justice minister, in which he called a fellow politician "an idiot".

The post was deleted after Twitter received several complaints, fuelling a simmering row over the new regulation which critics say stifle freedom of speech.
If calling someone an idiot qualifies as hate speech, just imagine how much that encompasses. And think of how many politicians could be caught up in that mess. Tim Cushing, writing about the importance of freedom of speech writes,
Proponents of laws targeting speech tend to believe the law will operate in a pristine vacuum where only the purest of intentions will be honored. Anyone operating outside of this mindset knows exactly how speech-targeting laws work in real life: exactly like this, where an internet dogpile resulted in the deletion of a tweet that didn't even meet the expansive definitions of hate speech handed down by the German government.

With the social media mob out there eager to jump all over perceived as being racist or sexist, we keep plumbing new depths of idiocy. The outrage over perfectly reasonable comments made by liberal Harvard professor, Steven Pinker, is a prime example.
This week, a video surfaced of a Harvard professor, Steven Pinker, which appeared to show him lauding members of a racist movement. The clip, which was pulled from a November event at Harvard put on by Spiked magazine, showed Mr. Pinker referring to “the often highly literate, highly intelligent people who gravitate to the alt-right” and calling them “internet savvy” and “media savvy.”
The alt-right wing trumpeted Pinker's supposed words and those on the left are excoriating him.
The clip was deeply misleading. If you watch the whole eight-minute video from which it was culled, it’s clear that Mr. Pinker’s entire point is that the alt-right’s beliefs are false and illogical — but that the left needs to do a better job fighting against them.
What Pinker was really saying was that political correctness is exacerbating what the alt-right wants to believe about the country.
During that panel, Pinker explained that attempts to quash statements of fact led people to embrace radical interpretations of those facts, leading to political extremism — political correctness, in other words, fueled the fire of the alt-right. Here’s what Pinker had to say:

In relevant part, Pinker explains:
The other way in which I do agree with my fellow panelists that political correctness has done an enormous amount of harm in the sliver of the population that might be, I wouldn't want to say persuadable, but certainly whose affiliation might be up for grabs, comes from the often highly literate, highly intelligent people who gravitate to the alt-right, internet savvy, media savvy, who often are radicalized in that way, who swallow the red pill, as the saying goes, the allusion from The Matrix. When they are exposed the first time to true statements that have never been voiced in college campuses or in The New York Times or in respectable media, that are almost like a bacillus to which they have no immunity, and they're immediately infected with both the feeling of outrage that these truths are unsayable, and no defense against taking them to what we might consider to be rather repellent conclusions.
Lest it be argued otherwise, Pinker is condemning the alt-right. He’s saying that if you refuse to allow people to speak facts, they will think that not only are the facts being censored, the truest explanations are being censored as well. He gives a few examples:
Here is a fact that's gonna sound ragingly controversial but is not, and that is that capitalist societies are better than communist ones. If you doubt it, then just ask yourself the question, would I rather live in South Korea or North Korea. Would I rather live in West Germany in the 1970s or East Germany or in the 1960s? I submit that this is actually not a controversial statement, but in university campuses, it would be considered flamingly radical.

Here's another one. Men and women are not identical in their life priorities, in their sexuality, in their tastes and interests. This is not controversial to anyone who has even glanced at the data. The kind of vocational interest tests of the kind that your high school guidance counselor gave you were given to millions of people, and men and women give different answers as to what they wanna do for a living and how much time they wanna allocate to family versus career and so on. But you can't say it. A very famous person on this campus did say it, and we all know what happened to him. He's no longer, well, he is on this campus, but no longer in the same office.

Here's a third fact that is just not controversial, although it sounds controversial, and that is that different ethnic groups commit violent crimes at different rates. You can go to the Bureau of Justice Statistics. Look it up on their website. The homicide rate among African Americans is about seven or eight times higher than it is among European Americans. And terrorism, go to the Global Terrorist Database, and you find that worldwide the overwhelming majority of suicide terrorist acts are committed by Islamist extremist groups.

If you've never heard these facts before and you stumble across them or someone mentions them, it is possible to come to some extreme conclusions, such as that women are inferior, that African Americans are naturally violent, that we all ought to be Anarcho-capitalists and do away with all regulation and social safety nets, that most terrorism in this country is the fault of Muslims. These are unwarranted conclusions because for each one of these facts there are very powerful counterarguments for why they don't license racism and sexism and Anarcho-capitalism and so on. …

Now let's say that you have never even heard anyone mention these facts. The first time you hear them, you're apt to say, number one, the truth has been withheld from me by universities, by mainstream media, and, moreover, you will be vindicated when people who voice these truths are suppressed, shouted down, assaulted, all the more reason to believe that the Left, that the mainstream media, that universities can't handle the truth. So, you get vindicated over and over again, but, worst of all, you're never exposed to the ways of putting these facts into context so that they don't lead to racism and sexism and extreme forms of Anarcho-Libertarianism. So, the politically correct Left is doing itself an enormous disservice when it renders certain topics undiscussable, especially when the facts are clearly behind them because they leave people defenseless the first time they hear them against the most extreme and indefensible conclusions possible. If they were exposed, then the rationale for putting them into proper political and moral context could also be articulated, and I don't think you would have quite the extreme backlash.
Many on the left have jumped all over Pinker and distorted his words to portray him as saying that "blacks cause crime...jews control the world," as Jamelle Bouie of Slate did. Rather than listening to what he really said, they prefer to jump to egregious accusations to trash someone who is actually on their side ideologically. Jesse Singal comments in the New York Times about this incident.
Steven Pinker will be O.K. A fleeting Twitter blowup isn’t going to bruise his long and successful career as a public intellectual. But this is happening more and more — and in many cases to people who don’t have the standing and reputation he does.

It’s getting harder and harder to talk about anything controversial online without every single utterance of an opinion immediately being caricatured by opportunistic outrage-mongers, at which point everyone, afraid to be caught exposed in the skirmish that’s about to break out, rushes for the safety of their ideological battlements, where they can safely scream out their righteousness in unison. In this case: “Steven Pinker said the alt-right is good! But the alt-right is bad! We must defend this principle!”

This is making us dumber.

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Mike Allen thinks that it is practically inevitable that Nancy Pelosi will be Speaker if the Democrats retake the House. You'd think that the Republicans could use the prospect of Pelosi running the House again as a prod to get Republican voters out this Fall. However, according to his anonymous Republican source, the Republicans have basically given up hope of keeping the House. And the result would be a "nightmare" for Trump.
With a Democratic House, Trump faces not only a high risk of impeachment proceedings, but hostile chairs with subpoena power who can tie up the administration with hearings and document requests.
If Mueller's investigation is driving him crazy now, just imagine how bananas he'll get if there are impeachment hearings and multiple committee investigations of him, his family, his campaign, and his administration.

It would be nice if such a prospect could focus his mind so that he could stop tweeting and saying things that hurt the Republicans and force them to come out renouncing whatever he's tweeted most recently. And if he can't stop himself from tweeting, how about limiting himself to tweets that help him and Republicans instead of stirring up new controversies. For example, he could tweet out links for all these companies that have announced that they're giving their workers bonuses and/or wage increases because of the GOP tax cuts. Fiat Chrysler has announced that they're moving their Ram Truck production from Mexico to Michigan with 2,500 new jobs in Michigan and $2,000 bonuses to their workers in the U.S. That's catnip for Trump - just what he should be crowing about and and helping to focus attention on instead of all the other garbage that he does that distracts from any message that would help him and Republicans.

David French has some thoughtful comments about Trump's s***hole comment. He reminds conservatives how they were so angry about Obama calling them "bitter clingers" and Hillary calling them "deplorables." If we don't like that sort of stereotyping, we should also object to the implication from Trump's words that people who come from poor countries with awful conditions are themselves unworthy of immigrating here. There is a difference between the conditions someone is emigrating from and the character of the people emigrating.

Yes, there are attempts to cast doubt on whether Trump said it or not. But does he really get the benefit of the doubt?
Second, these comments must be understood in the context of Trump’s relatively short history as the country’s most visible political figure. From the opening moments of his presidential campaign, Trump has made sweeping, negative remarks about immigrants from third-world nations. Even when he qualifies those remarks (“They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people”) the qualification is weak. Isn’t it reasonable for a Mexican American to assume that when Trump says Mexico is “forcing their most unwanted people into the United States,” he is expressing a negative personal perception of Mexican immigrants?

Moreover, time and again, Trump has engaged in actions and rhetoric that inflame broader racial tensions and betray possible racial bias. As my colleague Ramesh Ponnuru pointed out this morning, the president’s businesses have been credibly accused of racial discrimination, he claimed that an American judge couldn’t do his job fairly because of the judge’s Mexican heritage, he delayed condemning David Duke as long as he possibly could, and after the dreadful alt-right rally and terrorist attack in Charlottesville, he went out of his way to declare that there were “very fine people” on both sides. One doesn’t even have to delve too deeply into Trump’s alleged comparison of Norway with the “sh**holes” of Africa to understand why a reasonable observer would believe that he has problems with entire classes of Americans, immigrants, and citizens of other nations.

The fact that modern debate has become extraordinarily stupid does not excuse us from understanding and recognizing the core problem with Trump’s comments. Yes, it’s ridiculous to see a parade of progressives take to Twitter to argue that desperately poor and often terribly corrupt third-world nations are really just lovely and amazing places. Yes, it’s even more ridiculous to see a different group of progressives argue that, wait, America is the true “sh**hole.” But it’s just as ridiculous for conservatives to pretend that the outrage over Trump’s comments truly centers around his assessment of Haiti and Africa when it clearly centers around his assessment of Haitians and Africans. His remarks came amid a discussion of immigration policy, after all.

At this point I simply can’t see how a conservative could look a concerned third-world immigrant (or descendent of a third-world immigrant) in the eye and assert that this president judges them fairly and without bias. The intellectual and rhetorical gymnastics necessary to justify not just Trump’s alleged comments yesterday but his entire history and record of transparent hostility to certain immigrants are getting embarrassing to watch. Some of his comments may “work” politically — divisive comments often do — but that doesn’t make them any less damaging to American political culture as a whole.

Twitchy has some fun comparing the outrage in the media when Senator Richard Burr politely asked Kamala Harris to stop badgering a witness with the reaction to Senator Cory Booker screaming yesterday at DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen. For Burr and Kamala Harris it was all about a male senator trying to hush up a female senator. With Booker, the sexist angle doesn't even arise.

Consider all this the C-Span effect. Does anyone think that these potential contestants for the 2020 nomination would be grandstanding like that in a committee hearing if they weren't trying to get clips to send around to drum up support?

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Robby Soave makes the same point
that I made yesterday - if Aziz Ansari were in college and a female student told the same story that "Grace" told, Ansari might well have been expelled from school. Soave points out that, no matter which reaction people are having to the story, everyone agrees that the whole episode was not sexual assault.
And yet, boorish behavior similar to Ansari's—behavior that most pundits say they consider gross but not criminal, at least in Ansari's case—is routinely investigated as sexual misconduct on university campuses. Ansari is lucky he's not a college student; otherwise he could have been accused months or a year after the incident, investigated by a lone administrator with sole power to decide which witnesses to interview, called before a hearing to answer charges he does not fully understand, forbidden from consulting a lawyer or cross-examining his accuser, found responsible for sexual misconduct under a preponderance of the evidence standard, and expelled from campus as required by Title IX, the federal statute that mandates gender equality in schools.
This is just the sort of episode that many colleges regard as sexual assault and the reason to prosecute the male student.
Frequently, the details of the incidents sound a whole lot like the Ansari mess: intoxicated participants, a mutual desire to engage in some level of sexual activity but different expectations as to how far and how fast things should go, "non-verbal cues" that were ignored or perhaps just misunderstood by one party, agreement that a phase of the encounter was consensual but disagreement as to when and whether consent was withdrawn, and gradual re-thinking of the experience as full-on assault. "It took a really long time for me to validate this as sexual assault," Ansari's date, known as "Grace," told "I was debating if this was an awkward sexual experience or sexual assault." Student-victims often take a long time to make up their minds about this, too. As Emily Yoffe has noted, about 40 percent of student-victims don't report their alleged rape right away—these complainants wait an average of 11 months.
Soave goes on to give examples of such cases at colleges that are quite similar to the Ansari story or even "less obviously bad." For example,
Two Michigan State University students, "Nathan" and "Melanie" agreed to meet up for sex in the summer of 2014. According to Bridge, Melanie was interested in an emotional, romantic relationship, while Nathan just wanted casual sex with a friend. They were interrupted during their sexual encounter—they were doing it in a car—which made Melanie extremely upset, and called to mind a traumatic experience from her past. Nathan, according to Melanie, did a bad job of comforting her, and then tried to resume the encounter by reaching under Melanie's shirt and touching her bra. She said no, and he stopped—and that was the end of their relationship. A year later, Melanie underwent surgery to transition to a man. Afraid of running into Nathan in the men's restroom at MSU, she filed a Title IX complaint alleging that he had violated the university's sexual misconduct policy during the rendezvous in the car. Nathan was found responsible.
Let's treat accused students the same way we treat Ansari instead of instituting kangaroo courts that basically assume the guy's guilt and deny him standard due process rights.
I could cite dozens more cases of drunken hookups gone wrong, misinterpreted signals, and unmet expectations that culminated in powerful institutions punishing young men for sexual assault. If it would be wrong to call Aziz Ansari a rapist, it was wrong to call these young men rapists. And it would be wrong to export the campus policies under which these young men were found responsible—low evidence standards, affirmative consent, automatic belief in the honesty of accusers—to the rest of the country (something many activists want). Let's hold real sexual abusers accountable without discarding important protections for the accused in the process.
Something else struck me about this whole story. Note that the woman's name is withheld in the story. She's anonymous while Ansari's name is all over the internet and his reputation has been tarnished. However, it is not as if she is totally unknown. Ansari knows who she is and he communicated with her to set up their date. Notice that he hasn't released her name which he is capable of doing. Perhaps he is just lying low or reluctant to expose her identity to the public. We can imagine the public opprobrium that he would earn if he exposed who she is. A lot of people are critical of her story and might attack her by name on social media or even in person if they know her. But why should she be shielded from the consequences of her article? Why should someone be able to do her utmost to destroy Ansari's reputation for what is really just a bad date and do it without facing the consequences? She should be grateful to Ansari for his silence which allows her to maintain her anonymity. If he were really the selfish boor she wants to depict him as, he could have leaked her name. But he'd destroyed even more than he is now if he did. Talk about a double standard.

As Jonah Goldberg points out, Republicans who are pointing to Biden's "big f***ing deal" comment about Obamacare to indicate that the media are being unfair about profanities from top officials are missing the fact that Republicans were the ones criticizing Biden's language.
But Biden’s F-bomb got enormous press coverage. It was also decried by legions of conservatives, many of whom have suddenly changed their views of profanity. Is the argument really that Joe frickn’ Biden gets to define acceptable language now? Lastly, Biden wasn’t disparaging anyone. Saying something is a “big f***ing deal” and insulting millions of people are different things, even if both involve profanity.
Goldberg also derides the idea that this is just Trump talking to his base.
I think this is largely true. It’s also a pathetic defense. Donald Trump isn’t the president of “forgotten” white men in bars. He’s the president of the United States of America. Which means he’s the president of Haitian Americans and Nigerian Americans and, well, African Americans. Saying we should deport a blanket category of Americans because they came from the wrong countries is grotesquely simplistic. (He’s also in charge of conducting foreign policy, and there is no way to spin this as anything but a colossal act of unforced dick-stepping.)

This argument sets a profoundly pernicious precedent. The idea that anything the president says can be justified by simply asserting that he’s speaking in the authentic voice of his base is an argument no conservative would dream of making under an Elizabeth Warren presidency. Lending credence to it is not only politically myopic, but it lends support to the centrifugal forces tearing this country apart. It is the type of thinking I associate with “sh**hole” countries — to borrow a phrase. In many third-world countries, tribes and other factions vie to gain power and then reward only their team. That is contrary to virtually everything good and noble about our constitutional system....

The White House’s initial statement — which didn’t deny the sh**hole report — says in part, “Certain Washington politicians choose to fight for foreign countries, but President Trump will always fight for the American people.” Put aside the blasé and unsubstantiated insinuation of unpatriotic motives to critics and the political class generally. The upshot of this claim is that calling scores of nations — many of which are our allies — “sh**holes” is really a form of fighting for the American people. If that were true, virtually any crude insult would be just another example of “presidential” heroism. Count me out of that idiotic argument.

Whatever you might think of Trump's language, Jeff Flake goes way too far in comparing Trump to Stalin. Just as everyone should avoid Hitler comparisons, Stalin comparisons should be off the table.

This is the Israeli version of the Terminator.
An Israeli man who was stabbed multiple times Tuesday afternoon in a terror attack in Petah Tikva managed to remove the knife from his neck and use it to stab and neutralize his attacker, aided by the store owner, police said....

The victim, later named as Yonatan Azarihab, an ultra-Orthodox man of about 40 who suffered multiple stab wounds to his upper body, was hospitalized in moderate condition.

The store owner was not injured.

The Palestinian assailant had followed Azarihab, who was collecting money for charity, into a wine shop on the central city’s Baron Hirsch Street and began stabbing him “multiple times” in the upper body in a “frenzied attack,” police said.

At one point, Azarihab managed to break away and fled the store, while the owner of the store hit the attacker and tried to subdue him, police said. The victim then returned to the store, pulled the knife out of his own neck, and stabbed his attacker.

An top girls school in Britain has decided
to ban staff from using the word "girl" in referring to students because that might hurt or offend transgender students.
For more than a century it has educated generations of girls.

But one of the country's top-performing state schools has baffled parents by informing them its staff will in future use 'gender-neutral language' when talking to or about children.

Altrincham Grammar School for Girls in Manchester fears that using the 'g-word' could result in pupils who are changing sex being 'misgendered'.

Pupils are likely to be addressed as 'students' instead.

However despite the ban, the 1,350-pupil school has no plans to drop the term from its name.

In a letter to parents, principal Stephanie Gill said the rethink came in response to 'the challenges facing our students who are questioning their gender identity or who do not identify as girls'.

Despite the fact the school does not admit boys, she added that parents 'may have noticed that we have moved to using gender neutral language in all our communications with students and parents'.

She added: 'We are working to break ingrained habits in the way we speak to and about students, particularly referring to them collectively as 'girls'.'

The letter goes on to say that 'for many transgender students being misgendered can be very hurtful' and undermines efforts to demonstrate that 'everyone is welcome' at the school.

'Staff have embraced these changes and are doing their best to implement this new policy,' she concluded.
Wait! If the students identify as girls, wouldn't we be offending them if we don't call them by their preferred gender? It's all so confusing.