Recently we had a controversy in our middle school regarding the Language Arts Curriculum. The curriculum was discussing banned books and the reasons for the ban. I can understand that; I am not a proponent of banning books. People are guaranteed the right of free speech, which says they can write or read what they want.
But as part of one of the classes an educator wrote profane words on the board stating that the students will see these words in some of the banned books. This educator then apparently proceeded to encourage the students to use this language and to even yell out the words.
- Does this accomplish something?
- Does this help the students?
- Does this teach values?
- Is this what we want in our schools?
- Is this part of a quality education?
Additionally the students were apparently told that if they were uncomfortable with the words there was something wrong with them. I am sorry, but if a student has a value system that is not at ease with profanity; is that really something wrong with the student. I think the student should be applauded and congratulated and the educator encouraging the demise of the student’s value system terminated.
I am not a prude and I know that the kids hear this language all the time. However, just because students hear the language or may read it in a book, does that make it right? Does that mean that an educator should force it upon a student? Parents should have some say in this decision.
I would think, or at least I want to think, that our educators would be encouraging our students to use civil language and be reinforcing the idea that there are many appropriate words that can be used in lieu of profanity that will still get the point across. I was raised with the understanding that profanity is the vocabulary of the feeble mind and of one that does not have the language skills to talk civilly. Let’s encourage the development of a comprehensive vocabulary so our students are not required to use objectionable language.
Can we assume that by taking this approach the educators that use questionable language can justify their actions and choices and feel better about themselves. I also learned long ago that if the only way you can feel better about yourself is by making someone else worse; you are in a sad state of affairs and redemption will be a long road to travel; especially when it requires destroying young people to accomplish your objective.
Teaching and encouraging profane language will not serve our middle school students when the time comes for them to search for employment. Many jobs for the youth today are service jobs and employers are not interested in hiring employees that use offensive language and have the potential of alienating customers.