Thursday, October 6, 2011

God Bless You! Now Allowed at School

by Jeremy Kryn

  • VACAVILLE, California, October 4, 2011 ( – The principal of a California school about 45 miles from San Francisco has said that students will no longer be disciplined for saying “God, bless you” in class. The principal’s statement follows news that a health teacher at William C. Wood High School took grade points away from his students for saying “God, bless you” when someone sneezed.

“He realizes his mistake and that this wasn’t the best way to get the kids to behave,” Principal Cliff DeGraw told Sacramento’s FOX40.

When Taylor McGinley sneezed in her health class at William C. Wood High School a few weeks ago, a student replied with “God, bless you.” Health teacher Steven Cuckovich, however, reportedly responded by disciplining the students, telling them that “the blessing doesn’t really make sense anymore.”

“(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,’” McGinley said, according to News10.

McGinley said her teacher never spoke about the expression in class after that.

In Erica Fagan’s class, however, Cuckovich deducted 25 points from students’ grades if someone said “God, bless you.” Cuckovich reportedly told Fagan and the other students saying “God bless you” is a distraction.

“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.

Fagan’s mother, Vickie, said she emailed administrators, but only heard back from them September 29.

“I can see where teenagers can be disruptive. It’s not something unknown,” Fagan’s mother said. “The specific saying ‘If you guys are being noisy and talking out of turn’ I can see, but when he says ‘When you say, God, bless you,’ and he’s using that specific terminology to say, ‘I’m docking you points,’ that concerns me.”

“It’s not… got anything to do with religion. It’s got to do with an interruption of class time,” Cuckovich told FOX40.

“If they came to me and made an effort to convince me that on religious grounds they felt that they were being prosecuted, I could probably adjust. I didn’t think it was a big deal,” he said, adding that he will find another way to punish perpetrators.

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