Country Living Series

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Will "curse you" work instead?

Just when you think things can't possibly get any loopier, you can now get docked in a school classroom for saying "Bless you!" after someone sneezes. Read the article here.

The Vacaville, CA teacher says the practice is "disrespectful and disruptive." Oh, and docking a kid 25 points for being courteous isn't?

The teacher says the policy has nothing to do with religion (yeah right) but says the phrase is "just a outdated practice and disrupts class time."

Let me see... start the stopwatch... "Bless you!" Elapsed time: one second. Oooh, pretty disruptive. Not to mention disrespectful.

The article notes, "After parents complained about students losing points...[the teacher] decided to stop the practice." However he says he will "just find another way to discipline" students for saying "bless you" in class. Sounds vindictive to me.

Among the comments that followed the article:

• I am a committed atheist and strive to sweep fairytales and superstitions from my classroom. But I would never countenance such intolerance. It appears that the teacher is the one who is displaying contempt, intolerance and simple bad manners to children.

• That's what wrong with public schools. They spend more time denying our heritage than teaching it. FIRE HIM!!!!

• When students meet him outside the classroom such as passing him in the hall "Bless You" should become the standard greeting from ALL students towards this particular teacher.

And people wonder why we homeschool....


  1. What really kills me is the docking of points. What does saying 'bless you' have to do with a student's performance in class? Can you imagine the conversation? "I would have had a 4.0, but the girl in front of me sneezed and I told her 'bless you.'"

    Yes, Reason #5672 why we're homeschooling. I have no interest in submitting my children to the frustrated tyranny of the classroom.

  2. Former teacher here. My opinion? This is a guy who can't control the learning environment in his classroom. I bet it's not one "bless you," it's 27 or 41 or 32, however many kids there are. They're not using the custom properly, they're exploiting it because it's entertaining and it gets under the teacher's skin (which is, in itself, pretty entertaining). If the students were engaged in learning, this would be a non-issue. It might happen once, or even a few times, but the novelty would just wouldn't be as much fun as actual learning.

    It amazes me the humans who stand in front of students, label themselves "teachers," and remain completely clueless why nothing gets done.

  3. The same thing happened in my high school over 20 years ago. Mr. A, everybody's favorite math teacher, asked students to stop saying "bless you" when someone sneezed. He said the whole conversation that followed (achoo/bless you/thank you/you're welcome) was distracting and took up too much time. He didn't dock any points for it though; just asked students to stop saying it.

    He quickly lost favor with the students and soon became everybody's favorite teacher to diss.

  4. Probably tenured so he thinks he can do anything. Basically the tin-god syndrome.

  5. Fella's like this one give a bad name to all teachers. Our Daughters are teachers and work very hard to ensure manners are used in the classroom, many of the students have never been taught such tings in the home. Our country had better wake up and rid our schools of nut cases such as this or we will continue down the slippery slope our schoos have been on for to long

  6. My son who's speech is very slurred and slow will correct you if someone in our house says Bless You.....He will tell you every time that it is God Bless You!

  7. Did you hear about the family in San Juan Capistrano, Calif. who are being fined $500.00 each time they hold a bible study in their home? Seems they aren't zoned properly for bible studies. I think this type of infringement on liberty is building to the point of some kind of resolution in the not too distant future. Don

  8. Like some of the others here I'm betting that there is more to the story than what we are told by the TV talking heads in this 57-second "news" item.

    Here is the scenario that I imagined:

    It's high school. Kids will exploit any chance whatsoever to rile a teacher and make points with their peers.

    They've discovered that saying "Bless You" gets under their teacher's skin. Pretty soon, there is a whole lot of "sneezing" going on, a whole lot of "Bless Yous" and a whole lot of tittering and texting back and forth.

    In other words, a totally disrupted and undisciplined classroom.

    The anonymous person above hit it on the head. It reflects the lack of discipline imposed by the teacher. But, the problem is, teachers are not allowed to discipline students anymore. Those days are long gone.

    Classrooms basically ARE disruptive by default, the inmates are in charge of the asylum.

    Look at it this way. A teacher gets to the end of his rope and tries to put an end to disruptive behavior by the students; and the whole world comes down on him accusing him of, basically, trying to bring discipline to his classroom.

    I'm not saying I know for sure that's how it all went down. But, knowing today's public school climate, I'm thinking it's a safe bet.


  9. Sounds to me like this teacher is denying students their 1st amendment rights and needs to be educated.

    There is a fundamental problem stirring in this country and it's starting with the children.

  10. I love Jesus, but I think saying "bless you" after a sneeze is pointless. I don't say it and I haven't taught my kids to say it or gesundheit or anything else. But I wouldn't begrudge anyone else their customs, or whatever it is. I agree with previous comment that it may have been a problem with classroom order- too many "bless you's" or overemphasized "bless you's" by trouble makers.

  11. Just Crazy. I had a very interesting conversation with some liberal educator relatives regarding our having home schooled our children. The comment was made that public education is the foundation of democracy.....nuh-uh. :-)

  12. If the issue was disruption, why did the teacher give an explanation on the history of sneezing, evil spirits and all?

  13. Perhaps we should do unto Mr. Bless You Teacher as he would no doubt do unto us:

    Arrest and prosecute him for child abuse and hate crimes. Multiple counts.

    A. McSp

  14. is the ugly head of "zero tolerance" again in the classroom. lets see, cant eat with a fork and knife, cant point your finger at anyone, cant play cowboys and indians, no more recess, no more dodge ball, no more bless yous, and on and on and on. sounds to me like the teacher is losing the interest of his students and they are politely giving him the message that his class obviously sucks..pretty early in the school year for such goings on too...this is a teacher who needs to be removed from the classroom/school and find another occupation that does not involve being around people/children.

  15. "Evil spirits"?
    This teacher needs to look in the mirror.

  16. Kids think it's funny to disrupt a lecture by doing something that isn't technically wrong--like saying "bless you." Assuming that his policy is one of being silent until called upon, saying "bless you," would require breaking the rules of his classroom. If I were in the middle of teaching, and there were excessive "bless yous," I'd make the same rule. To me, this isn't a religious issue or a freedom of speech issue; it's a let's-have-some-order-in-the-classroom issue. However, I do agree that lowering the students' grades is a bad idea.