Last week, Arizona State Senator Lori Klein proposed a law that would make it a fireable offense for K-12 public school teachers to repeatedly swear in the classroom. “These are young, impressionable minds,” she explained. “We want to fill them with the highest ideals, values and education that we can.” Yes, we agree. (Who doesn’t?) The issue we respectfully take with Senator Klein, though, is that a distinction must be made between teachers swearing in front of students and teachers swearing at students.
If a second-grade teacher, say, channeled Gunnery Sergeant Hartman in Full Metal Jacket by telling his students that they “had best unfuck themselves” or he would “fuck them up,” we’d assume he’d be dismissed.