The Need for an Effective Obscenity and Profanity Policy

Sample Obscenity and Profanity Policy for Schools

obscenity and profanity policy
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Obscenity and profanity have become significant issues that schools must get a handle on. Profanity especially has become a problem in part because students hear their parents using words that are unacceptable at school and model what they do. Furthermore, pop culture has made it a more acceptable practice.  The entertainment industry, especially music, movies, and television glamorizes the use of obscenities and profanity.  Sadly, students are using profane words at a younger and younger age. Schools must have a strong policy to deter students from being profane or obscene primarily because they are often vulgar in nature, the use of these types of words/materials often leads to distractions, and can occasionally lead to fights or altercations.

Educating our students is critical in eliminating or reducing the problem as is the case for almost any social issue. Students must be taught that there are other alternatives to using obscenities and profanity during school.  They must be taught that school is the wrong time and wrong place to practice the use of expletive language.  Some parents may allow their children to use profanity in the home, but they need to know that it will not be allowed or tolerated in school. They need to know that using inappropriate language is a choice. They can control their choices at school, or they will be held accountable.

Many students are offended when other students use inappropriate language.  They are not exposed to it in their home and do not make it a regular part of their vernacular. It is especially important for schools to teach older students to be respectful and mindful of younger students.  Schools must adopt a zero tolerance stance when older students are knowingly using inappropriate language around younger students.

Schools should have an expectation for all students to be respectful of one another.  Cursing in any form can be offensive and disrespectful to many students. If nothing else, all students should refrain from this practice because of this.   Getting a handle on the issue of obscenity and profanity will be an uphill and continuous battle.  Schools wanting to improve this area must draft a tough policy, educate their students on the policy, and then follow through with the assigned consequences no matter the context.  Once students see that you are cracking down on the issue, most will alter their vocabulary and comply because they do not want to be in trouble. 

Obscenity and Profanity Policy

Obscene materials including, but not limited to illustrations (drawings, painting, photographs, etc.) and oral or written materials (books, letters, poems, tapes, CDs, videos, etc.) which are commercially or student produced are prohibited. Profanity including, but not limited to, gestures, symbols, verbal, written, etc. is prohibited during school and at all school sponsored activities.

There is one word that is strictly prohibited. The “F” word will not be tolerated under any circumstance. Any student who uses the “F” word in any context will automatically be suspended out of school for three days.

All other forms of inappropriate language are highly discouraged. Students must choose their words carefully and consciously.  Students caught using obscenities or profanities will be subject to the following disciplinary code.

  • 1st Offense - Verbal reprimand. Notice issued to parents.
  • 2nd Offense - 3 detention times.
  • 3rd Offense - 3 days in-school placement
  • Subsequent Offenses - 3 days out-of-school suspension.