I’m pretty sure this is one of those “bills that’ll never pass” but a proposed statute before the Arizona state legislature makes the Blasphemy Act look like a moderate piece of legislation!

The bill would require that “[schools] shall suspend the person [who provides classroom instruction in a public school], at a minimum, for one week of employment, and the person shall not receive any compensation for the duration of the suspension” for “speech or conduct that would violate the standards adopted by the federal communications commission concerning obscenity, indecency and profanity if that speech or conduct were broadcast on television or radio.”

Not in the school. Anywhere. At all.

Oh yeah: “For the second occurrence, the school shall suspend the person, at a minimum, for two weeks of employment, and the person shall not receive any compensation for the duration of the suspension… For the third occurrence, the school shall terminate the employment of the person.”

Given what I know of the stresses of the teaching profession, expecting teachers not to swear outside of school is like expecting bears to hold it till they find a convenient bathroom!

The legislation could backfire, literally. As this article explains, when swearing stops, it’s a sign that stress has become unbearable.

“Bottom line: if you’re worried about which laid-off employee is going to show up with a semi-automatic and shoot up the office, be wary of the non-swearers.”

In all seriousness, not only is this a ridiculous attack on First Amendment rights, it gets in the way of education. As Greg Lukianoff of the HuffPo explains:

But the proposed AZ law goes much farther than the unconstitutional censorship in the Papish case. The law not only hobbles the ability to teach about sexuality and other non-Victorian topics, but it also puts teachers in jeopardy for teaching such mainstays as The Canterbury Tales, The Catcher in the Rye, certainly Ulysses, and probably every work by an obscure English writer named William Shakespeare. These days, such a law could certainly make any professor or teacher think twice about teaching Mark Twain or Kurt Vonnegut. And how on earth could you possibly teach a class about cinema studies without showing movies like The Godfather, The Graduate, Annie Hall, or for that matter, Pulp Fiction?

Legislators and, in many cases, campus bureaucrats need to know that real life and real education often includes “strong language and adult content.”

Advertisements