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The Prescott Daily Courier | Prescott, Arizona

home : opinions : editorials January 25, 2015

2/16/2012 10:01:00 PM
Editorial: Leave the language lessons to teachers
The Daily Courier

It's becoming more difficult to give much credibility to Arizona's Legislature. We've used this space in the past to harpoon some past daft efforts that have left us scratching our heads, but this one may be the topper.

Senate Bill 1467, sponsored by Sen. Lori Klein, R-Anthem, is a remarkable 284-word bill that earlier this month had its second reading by officials we all elected to serve the basic functions of state government.

The bill calls for any public school teacher who uses curse words to answer to a new disciplinary process. Now, we're fine with that much. No teacher has any business using offensive language in a classroom setting. That's hardly the issue.

First off, we're certain that Arizona school districts can police themselves on the policies of inappropriate language on their campuses without a meddling Senate. (Someone please get Sen. Klein the Republican memo about favoring smaller government with local control.)

But the real issue is the bill's language. It leaves open the possibility that public school teachers could face disciplinary action for swearing outside the classroom. As in, on their personal time. As in, whenever a lawyer sees fit to define the jurisdiction.

This is so nutty that we have to chalk it up to basic electioneering. No lawmaker can actually believe such a bill on its merits, but that isn't the bill's purpose, we're figuring. The bill is designed to fire up an undefined base of voters in this week's game of this-is-who-is-to-blame. If you oppose Sen. Klein's bill, surely you oppose everything she and her party stand for. In an election year, a bill like this provides just the kind of brush to paint wide strokes on bigger issues.

Sen. Klein wants us to believe that her bill stems from constituent complaints about teachers in local high schools using inappropriate language in front of students. As a result, she has sprung into action.

What we find most nauseating is that she seems alarmingly unaffected by constituent complaints that Arizona - already at or near the bottom in public education spending - has, according to the Arizona Education Network, decreased its spending per student adjusted for inflation by 24 percent between FY 2008 and FY 2012. That's the second biggest cut in the nation, second only to South Carolina.

No movement from Sen. Klein there, outside of chirping crickets.

We think this Legislature has already shown our state's public school teachers what they think of them and the value they place on education. Now this.

Join us in telling Sen. Klein and any of her colleagues who support this bill what we all want to say: Do your job.

Related Stories:
• Arizona Senate fails 3 bills on teacher conduct
• Bills on teacher profanity, book approval OK'd

Related Links:
• Senate Bill 1467
• 24 percent funding cut

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Reader Comments

Posted: Saturday, February 18, 2012
Article comment by: James Madison

I agree with Clarissa Duke. Enough already with government intrusions from both sides. I seriously doubt the little Hitler Youth wretches, indoctrinated to despise American values from kindergarten, would actually be offended, let alone be able to understand mere curse words anyway.

Posted: Saturday, February 18, 2012
Article comment by: A Teacher

Tom Steele, we have the power to discipline students, that has not been taken away. However, I highly doubt that there is a single word a teacher might say that a student has not hear a hundred times from his peers.

Posted: Friday, February 17, 2012
Article comment by: A Nutty Idea

The editorial calls Senate Bill 1467 a nutty a idea. But don't forget after the next election Lori Klein will be our nut, representing us.

Posted: Friday, February 17, 2012
Article comment by: WHO'S TO SAY

The Supreme Court has long since proclaimed that we cannot define the boundaries of pornography.

But is Sen. Klein (a name that in German means "little" as in "little thinking") going to make a list of taboo curse words? Even the Oxford English Dictionary has an annual addition of newly-coined words, based on usage.

Posted: Friday, February 17, 2012
Article comment by: Bob Smith

This is a good example of why legislative performance needs to be measured by things other than how many laws are passed. This one is simply dumb. Why would a public school teacher not be subject to discipline pursuant to any existing rules of teacher behavior for using profanity in the classroom? The answer is because it would be a subjective judgment, assuming the use of profanity by a teacher in the classroom is not specifically prohibited by those rules, on the part of school adminstration subject to teacher union litigation to protect the teacher. Stop the insanity!

Posted: Friday, February 17, 2012
Article comment by: Lori Klein doesn't know the US Constitution, or CHOOSES to ignore it.

This woman is more dangerous than a loaded gun in a backpack at Safeway.

Last year, she showed she lack the understanding of the Second Amendment when she brandished her pink Ruger in a reporter's face.

Now, she attempts to flaunt the First Amendment with this ridiculous bill!

A vote for her is a vote for TREASON.

She doesn't have the basic knowledge to do her job, or is a traitor.

Your choice.

Posted: Friday, February 17, 2012
Article comment by: Clarissa Duke

Amazing! This sounds more like a loony-left-politically-correct bill. Which just goes
to show that both sides have their share of wackos!

Posted: Friday, February 17, 2012
Article comment by: Old Gringo

Why are you so surprised ? This is the same pea brain that pointed a loaded gun at a TV reporter, and bragged about carrying it into the legislature ! Yup, smaller government, hands off people's lives, except when it's one of the Party of No's pet projects ! How about Klein and Old Governor Ain't Got a Clue, take that 1.9 million dollars projected to pay the "militia", and use it for upgrading our state's education system .

Posted: Friday, February 17, 2012
Article comment by: Tom Steele

Ms. Klien, how about a law giving the schools the power to discipline students and restore order in classes. So much time and energy is spent on keeping order many students who want to learn are handicapped.

Posted: Friday, February 17, 2012
Article comment by: Rick Stevenson

The bill isn't just overreaching government, it's unconstitutional. I can't imagine it being passed, but even if it is, it can't possibly stand any judicial scrutiny.

Posted: Friday, February 17, 2012
Article comment by: Frumunda A. Dog

Would the law only apply to English cussing, and what if the children are not able to learn English cussing at home?

Which letters of the alphabet would the Senator outlaw?

Would a teacher be responsible for only literary cussing not contained in quotes, or would the ban included all literary cussing?

Who would actually teach the cuss words to the teachers not to use, if a teacher of cuss words, would teach cuss words not to use? (Riddle me that)

Would the senator have teachers skip over cuss synonyms, and hominids like 'hard science' in the public schools?

Has the senator considered shock collars or does she prefer muzzles?

Posted: Friday, February 17, 2012
Article comment by: The Rev

This week the Courier had a choice: House Bill 2793 or Senate Bill 1467. What a curious choice they made. Well there is always tomorrow or next week.

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