Is The F-Word Ever OK In The Classroom?

Swearing in Class

Swearing in Class

Warning: This post contains denunciation that some might find offensive.

The scene: A clergyman training during a new high propagandize in Washington, D.C. The subject on a table? Students and a denunciation they use:

“So this should be a place that we should be means to come and demonstrate my thoughts. we might be carrying a bad day. we might come in, and I’ll be like, ‘f***’.”

That’s Shatane Porter, a advisor during Ron Brown College Preparatory High School. And yes, he is articulate about a F-word. And either it’s OK for students to contend it. In class. In front of their teacher.


Raising Kings is a three-part array from NPR Ed and Education Week. This yearlong partnership tells a story of a radical new high propagandize designed privately for immature group of color. Listen to a array here.

“This might be indeed a pointer of honour and trust that we can damn in your category and contend to you: ‘I’m carrying a bad day. F***.’ “

Then, he creates a distinction:

“Not ‘F*** you!’ Just, ‘F***.’ “

Charles Curtis, a propagandize psychologist, explains a difference:

“So: ‘F*** this!’ Moderate profanity. ‘F*** you, bitch!’ Targeted profanity. See what I’m saying?”

He is perplexing to explain that when a tyro blows adult in class, teachers should ask themselves: What is a tyro perplexing to say? And because is he observant it?

It’s all partial of a “restorative justice” proceed to fortify during Ron Brown, a propagandize directed during educating immature group of color. And this back-and-forth comes from Episode 1 of a three-part array on NPR’s Code Switch podcast: “Raising Kings.”

Ron Brown high propagandize is built wholly around this philosophy: Don’t postpone students, don’t send them home. Talk to them. Circle up. Try to figure out what’s behind their function and assistance them work by it.

Even a possess Cory Turner and Education Week‘s Kavitha Cardoza, who spent hundreds of hours in this school, found this toleration for impiety a shock:

Kavitha: “I’m certain some of we out there — generally teachers — are substantially observant right now: This is crazy!”

Cory: “When these immature group get into a world, they can’t abuse out their boss. Or a police.”

Kavitha: “And it’s not satisfactory to other students in class, who can’t learn if their teacher’s too bustling traffic with a disruptive student.”

In a fit of disappointment one day, Travis Bouldin, a story clergyman during Ron Brown, tells his students accurately a same thing:

“In a genuine world, people are not going to wish to work with we if you’re impiety during them nonstop. You can't continue to pronounce to any other like you’re nothing!”

But instead of suspending a students for their cursing, or kicking them out of class, here is what he does: He hurdles a students to spin to a classmate, and compensate him a compliment. He is branch impiety into compliments.

And during this school, it seems to work.

But conference that got us wondering, and clearly some listeners as well: When, if ever, is this kind of denunciation excusable in school?

First, we reached out to an expert. Eric Shed is with a Harvard Graduate School of Education and leads a clergyman fellows program. He has finished a lot of work with high schools, including 8 years as a amicable studies teacher.

He says a proceed by Ron Brown toward these immature group is unusual. “I consider that’s superb that they have a propagandize to demonstrate their emotions,” he says. “It’s display a high turn of empathy. … we consider it’s an event for students to demonstrate themselves.”

But in general, he says, this kind of function is not OK. The teacher-student attribute should be professional. “In general, we don’t consider there should be any form of cursing,” Shed says. “There are other ways to build relations with students.”

So: Teachers, educators, relatives … What do we think?

Email us during or on Twitter: @NPR_ed.