The San Francisco Chronicle is reporting a teacher in Vacaville, CA has told his freshman students they can no longer say “bless you” or “God bless you” when another student sneezes. But, it’s nothing close to what the ever uber-conservative FOX PAC crowd has tried to turn it into.
It appears it all started when high school health teacher Steve Cuckovich disciplined his students at Will C. Wood High School last week for repeatedly disrupting class by responding to sneezes with an overenthusiastic chorus of “Bless you.”
After receiving the “blessing”, the sneezer would then thank each giver of the blessing individually, something that could take a couple of minutes depending on the size of the class, and something that could definitely be disruptive.
So, it isn’t a case of a teacher banning God from class, it’s a case of immature 13 and 14 year olds thinking they’re still in Middle School, and not understanding there’s a different level of expectation in high school; it’s a case of a bunch of punk kids who have been terrorizing classes for a couple of years finally meeting a teacher who wasn’t going to allow it.
Problem is Cuckovich started deducting points from the kid’s grades when they wouldn’t stop the disruptive behavior, and well, when you do something to affect a student’s grade you’re going to have to deal with their parents, and if the parents are crazed evangelical Christians you’re going to see the story on FOX before you hear anything through channels.
And, of course the poor picked on “Christian” students are going to tell Mommy and Daddy they have no idea why the mean anti-Christ teacher is banning “God bless you” or why he’s deducting points.
Having taught high school, I personally think the “disruptive” behavior would have ended if the teacher had just ignored it instead of making it a point of teacher/student struggle, but Cuckovich’s real mistake was making it grade related.
The parents, however, are also wrong for reacting the way they did without trying to find out what was going on; but once again, when you’re dealing with parents who are evangelical Christians, basically walking around with a huge religious chip on their shoulders waiting for someone to challenge their so-called Christianity, coupled with a teacher, who is no doubt in the parent’s FOX addled minds, a Godless liberal, being the one to knock the chip off, then you’re going to have fireworks.
The parents should be telling their kids to knock off the juvenile behavior, not rushing to FOX; and perhaps that’s how things would have occurred if Cuckovich had told the parents what was going on rather than playing into the kid’s behavior. Both sides have handled this badly, but it’s definitely not a case of “the state” stepping on “religion’s” toes.