Houston Elementary School Removes Quote From Wall After It Goes Viral

Many called the quote sexist and said the language shamed girls unnecessarily.

Teachers were greeted with a quote that didn’t sit well for some when they arrived for teacher training at Gregory-Lincoln Elementary School in Houston, TX. The school, which has students attending from preschool through fifth grade, had affixed a quote to the wall above a bank of lockers that read “The more you act like a lady, the more he’ll act like a gentleman.”

USA Today reports that the quote has been removed by the Houston Independent school district, who also stated that the quote does not align with their values. Lisa Beckman, who received the photo from a friend, vehemently disagreed with the content of the quote and tweeted the photo to go along with her sentiment. That tweet went viral, bringing a lot of critical feedback and dissenting opinions.

Dissenters think the quote is merely a twist on the Golden Rule, advising students to treat others as they want to be treated. Others feel the quote is sexist, putting onus on the girls in the school to behave in a certain way and making the behavior of the boys the responsibility of the girls.

Interestingly, USA Today discovered via University of Virginia archives that the quote is most commonly attributed to Sidney Biddle Barrows, the Mayflower Madam. Barrows was accused of running an escort service and was convicted of prostitution in 1985. Considering the quote’s origins, it may have been a piece of advice given to escorts before a date. Few of the school children, the oldest of whom are in fifth grade, need this type of advice.

With the tweet going viral, the middle school did have a fast and swift response to the feedback. The quote has been removed, and the school provided the following statement to KHOU News.

“Please be advised that the quote on the wall of Gregory Lincoln PK-5 Education Center has been removed. Overnight, the wall decal letters were taken down, the wall was floated out, and new slab of drywall was installed and painted.”

Beckman, the tweeter who kicked off the initial viral firestorm, was pleased with the school’s response and swift action in the matter. “I see this as proof that our elected officials listen when we speak up,” she said.

Some are upset that the quote was removed so quickly or that it was deemed offensive at all. Regardless, students will be greeted with fresh drywall when school begins this year.

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