Thursday, September 29, 2011

Teacher bans "bless you" in classroom

And blessed is he who takes no offense at me.
  – Matthew 11:6
Where else? In California of course!

Here's more on this story from
Wood High Principal Cliff McGraw agreed that Cuckovich went overboard in his punishment. “He realizes he there’s better ways to do that,” McGraw said. “We don’t condone that kind of punishment.”

That doesn’t mean that the health teacher will now allow students to speak the words “bless you” in his classroom. He just will find a less Draconian way to punish perpetrators, he said.

The controversy in Vacaville is just the latest example of what many in California’s evangelical community perceive as growing anti-Christian, anti-religion bigotry in the state’s public schools.

Just this month, in fact, a 3-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco sided with school officials in Poway, Calif. who ordered high school math teacher Brad Johnson to remove two patriot banners he has displayed in his classroom for 25 years, which proclaim “In God We Trust,” “God Bless America,” and “God Shed His Grace On Thee.”

Back in March, a 16-year-old high school student in El Cajon, Calif. sued the local school district after being suspended two days last year for bringing his bible to school and sharing his faith with interested classmates.
Vacaville, California is about 45 miles from San Francisco. So this sort of thinking is probably considered normal by some people in the area.

If someone is sick, saying "bless you" is a way of asking God to help heal them. It is a short prayer like saying "God have mercy" or "Lord help me". It's clear that this teacher's real issue is that he is offended by any mention of God or any sign of religious belief by his students.

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Here is some additional information on this story from KXTV in Sacramento:
When Taylor McGinley sneezed in her health class at Will C. Wood High School a few weeks ago a student replied with "God, bless you," but it's what teacher Steven Cuckovich said after the sneeze that now has students questioning the teacher's agenda.

"(Cuckovich) said, 'Do you think that girl is evil, do you think the evil spirits are coming out of her?' And the guy that said "bless you" was like 'No, I was just doing what I was supposed to do when somebody sneezes, not trying to be rude,'" Taylor said, referring to the incident.

McGinley said Cuckovich never mentioned or referred to the expression again, but in Erica Fagan's class Cuckovich is deducting points from students' grades if someone said "bless you."

"The first time (the student) did it (Cuckovich) took 25 points off of everybody in the class's grade for one person saying it and then somebody did it the next day and he did it again," Fagan said.

According to Fagan, Cuckovich told the students sneezing and saying "bless you" is a distraction and takes time out of learning.
The health class is a one-semester course that is required for graduation.
Given the severity of the situation, I would have expected the school to impose some sort of disciplinary action on this teacher. Can you imagine if the teacher had declared that the use of the word "gay" was prohibited? I suppose one could say that the word "gay" doesn't really mean homosexual and that this is a form of slang which should be avoided. I wonder what the principal's reaction would be to something like that?


  1. UPDATE: I added information from KXTV on this story.

  2. I would ban my kid from going to this teachers classroom. This guy is an idiot, it's a simple polite gesture to say "bless you" when another person sneezes. Get over yourself you're not that important and I'm sure your teaching skills or lack thereof already show that. That's such a dumbass statement, if I ever saw one "banning bless you" it's a gesture get over ya self!

  3. Anon. Yes, it is a "polite gesture". I fully agree. And politeness is based on moral ethics. I think the decline of manners in society is a sign of the loss of Christian moral values.

    That said, the casual use of words like "idiot" etc. on the internet is another sign of the decline of good manners in our society.