Education Policy & Practice

School district reacts to “George Carlin’s famous “seven dirty words” and yanks dictionaries from classrooms

Posted on: January 25, 2010

According to the District Dossier, an Education Week blog, the Menifee Union School District in California recently removed all Merriam-Webster dictionaries from its classrooms.


Let’s see what the news media has to report.

Menifee school officials remove dictionary over term “oral sex.”

Read the article, here.

Dictionaries removed from Menifee classroom: books are being reviewed after parent finds offensive words

Read the article, here.

I hope you noticed the difference in reporting.

So, it is likely that the real issue here is the “seven dirty words” and not the inclusion of the entry “oral sex,” which the first article’s title would lead you to believe.  But I don’t have the dictionary in question at my disposal to check for myself.

Does the difference in reporting make a difference, however, in whether the dictionaries should have been pulled?


1 Response to "School district reacts to “George Carlin’s famous “seven dirty words” and yanks dictionaries from classrooms"

Ms. Murray,

I think that what we learn in schools is very important. But to remove dictionaries from schools because of “7 dirty words” or “oral sex” is ignorant and quite preposterous. First of all, growing up, kids learn that the “7 dirty words” are just dirty – with no context as to why they are dirty, no idea where the words come from, and barely any reason to not say them. You don’t blow up from saying these words, no ghosts come and haunt you, and you live perfectly fine after they’re said – so what’s the big deal. Just because the words were left behind from an old language doesn’t make them bad ones, in fact, saying that these words aren’t allowable is ignorant to an extent – especially when you know not what they mean. And on to “oral sex” – all right I have a blog myself about this, I hope you won’t mind my copying and pasting it – it’s a bit lengthy but worth reading…
and advanced apologies for the referral of wealthy, white america as “Mr. White Man” ..I was in the zone haha…

Alright, so it’s 1:30 AM and Chris Goodman just posted this … I think it was pretty dated idk… video about the sate of America and how to solve the issues affecting our country. There were four people on a.. I guess it was a panel. A black man and a black woman and a white man and a white woman. The white man and the white woman focused primarily on issues like sex, abortion, single mother hood. He says “we threw the ten commandments out and put the condoms in – that’s crazy.” But of course as a Christian man in a society with Christian based values – regardless of whether this country has vowed to accepting or at least TOLERATING the differences among people (humans) as far as race, sexual orientation, age, ethnicity – whatever that means, ability, religion, socioeconomic status, and appearance or not – that WOULD seem crazy to him. Typically, teaching the Bible and/or the Ten Commandments in schools – any schools – probably wouldn’t be as affective if not less affective than teaching sex-ed in schools. First off, why would a non-Christian student adhere to the Ten Commandments when they have absolutely nothing to do with their own belief system? Second, how does teaching children about CONDOMS become a problem as opposed to the solution. Third – if sex ed is taught from pre-kindergarten in the Netherlands, where there is the lowest teen pregnancy rate in the world, then why are we not learning a lesson from them? Furthermore, if we threw the condoms out of the window and brought the Ten Commandments back, are we not merely just forcing those who don’t lie in the “advantaged” category to assimilate so that they can be “advantaged” themselves? Wouldn’t we just be eliminating a solution to even bigger problems – those of STD’s, and unplanned pregnancies, ignorance about one’s body – by not teaching children about their bodies? So, as I do disagree with this man’s opinion on segregating the teaching system based on religious values, Dr. Akbar begins to bring up different issues – racial issues, which I can’t say aren’t prominent. It seems the system of race is backfiring altogether. Once created to separate people as far as duties, opportunities, and privileges, race eventually fell into the category along with other social identifiers – the category of things that this country somehow came to the conclusion shouldn’t be used as means of discrimination. Well isn’t it just ironic that they only true and scientific race that truly exists is that of humanity. Anywho, Dr. Akbar brings up racial issues and before you know it, Oprah’s white audience members who were brave enough to speak up to Dr. Akbar say that “this isn’t a racial thing. You’re making everything black and white, black and white, when it isn’t. Those aren’t the issues facing this country.” excuse my french….but NEWS FUCKING FLASH …. if you aren’t black, latino/a, asian – hell if you’re rarely ever put in the “OTHER” category, If you’ve ever needed to check the “other” box – then hell yeah those aren’t your issues. Mr. White Man, you may want to talk about what you’d like to teach in schools across the country – you may want to teach the ten commandments over safe sex but guess what? When this country brought Africans overseas to be their slaves, their workers, to demean them as we’ve evolved into whatever “race” we may be today, Mr. White Man, you decided that our class and treatment should be different – lower than yours. And sure, that’s fine – you wanted a capitalist society. But don’t catch an attitude when we turn everything to black and white when you try to solve problems that we can’t even BEGIN to think about yet. Low-income, and particularly black and latino communities barely have time to think about what’s going to be taught in their schools when having the children there altogether is an issue. Without paper, books, and sometimes even toilet paper, how are these students expected to receive an adequate education – one of the other promises made to us by this country. “Well what does them being black have to do with the state of the schools?” – you make ask. Well, I don’t know. You tell me why what we call ghettoes and low income areas have worse schools than necessary. Is it the taxes? Sure, maybe it’s the taxes but…then how do you justify taking money AWAY from the school system and investing it into prison building. This country is majority white. This country’s jails are majority “other.” Explanation, Mr. White Man? Prison – 13th grade?

My point- kids need to learn about sex – kids WILL learn about sex, but we can barely talk about the context of the school’s books when – they don’t have any!

just thought i’d share (=

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Education Policy & Practice

January 2010

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