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    High school cracks down on cussing

    Date: 10.25.10 | by Judge Tom.

    The principal at South Albany High School in Oregon wants students to learn how to be productive employees.  At the beginning of the school year he met with every class and explained that he planned to get them ready for any job situation. For starters, Principal Brent Belveal told them that most employers don’t tolerate foul language.

    The enforcement policy includes a warning for mild off-color words such as “*itch” and in-school suspensions for stronger language including the F-bomb.  So far the policy is working.  Many students support the ban and staff, as well, are watching their mouths.  Belveal said “It’s not OK for us, either.”

    Photo by Bob. B. Brown (Flickr)

    Senior Katy Babcock said “I like walking down the hallway and not having to listen to people saying “F” this and “F” that.  The teachers are actually doing something about it.”

    Do you think restricting profanity at school violates your right to free speech?  The U.S. Supreme Court addressed this issue in the case of Matthew Fraser in 1986.  Matthew gave a nominating speech for a fellow classmate before a student assembly.  He admitted deliberately using sexual metaphors and was suspended for three days. The Supreme Court upheld his suspension reasoning that “a high school assembly or classroom is no place for a sexually explicit monologue directed towards an unsuspecting audience of teenage students . . .Public schools may prohibit the use of vulgar and offensive terms in public discourse.”

    Judge Tom

    This post was written by Judge Tom. Judge Tom is the founder and moderator of AsktheJudge.info. He is a retired juvenile judge and spent 23 years on the bench. He has written several books for lawyers and judges as well as teens and parents including the recently published 'Teen Cyberbullying Investigated' (Free Spirit Publishing). When he's not answering teens' questions, Judge Tom can be found hiking, traveling and reading.

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