Shoot: county mandates no cursing for Valentine's Day

Well, dang.

Can something like that actually work?

The New York Times investigates:

It’s shaping up to be a darn nice Valentine’s Day here in Mobile County.

An optimistic band of middle school students hopes that for just one day no one in the county will curse. Perhaps people can substitute “sugar” or “snap.” Or even the powerful “Oh, pickles!”

The Mobile County Commission, acting on a request from students who have formed no-cursing clubs at Lott and Semmes Middle Schools, has declared a daylong ban Monday on bad words.

Commissioners also gave Lott Middle School students $5,000, which will finance an assembly featuring McKay Hatch, a California teenager who founded a nationwide No Cussing Club in 2007 as a way to get an entire expletive-loving nation to stop using profanity.

“I know children who grow up in homes where profanity is as prevalent as English,” said Merceria Ludgood, the County Commission member whose district includes Lott Middle School in this small town north of Mobile.

“The small issue is cussing,” Ms. Ludgood said. “The larger issue is civility. As a nation, we have gotten meaner.”

Getting schoolchildren to stop using profanity seems a Sisyphean task. Still, the anti-cursing movement has grown in fits and starts in recent years, particularly as school administrators, parents and students themselves have looked to new ways to stop bullying.

“If you call someone a B-word, that’s bullying right there,” said Nick Meinhardt, the eighth-grade student who is the president of the club that began Lott Middle School’s no-cursing movement.

Elsewhere, administrators at a high school in Hartford tried slapping $103 fines on students who cursed, but that effort was abandoned quickly, a school administrator said. They are still trying it in Texas. In October, a teenager who confronted another student with a profanity was hit with a $340 ticket.

Read on.  And be civil.


  1. I am a deacon and a retired public school teacher. My former fifth-graders (most!) have fond memories of their year in my class, and seek to “friend” me on FaceBook. I do not seek them out, but will “friend” a former student at his/her request. I became APPALLED at the abusive language that they use with each other in their postings. It is most common to read offensive language used in posts by those who are in the 14-20 age group now. I do not want to see it on my FB page! I posted a lengthy and respectful request to be “un-friended” by any of them who continue to use abusive words. It WORKED! Those who are still with me have cleaned up their act, and those who could not, are no longer FB connected with me.

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