Opinion: Cursing Teachers Should Get a One-Time Pass

A New York City teacher has been suspended and fined $15,000 for allegedly saying the Spanish c-word in class. The teacher is suing the city, saying, through his lawyer, that he did not say the curse word. He also claims an interpreter translated the term incorrectly during his disciplinary hearing.

Most people would agree that teachers are held to a high standard and expected to be positive role models for students. Yet some people are debating the seriousness of this offense. Is the word really that bad? Since it is used so commonly in the Latino community, is it really a tragedy that a teacher uttered this common word in the presence of his class?

Now, assuming you believe the teacher did say the curse and should be punished for his mistake, does the punishment fit the crime? Was one little curse word worth a suspension and $15,000?
It seems the fact that the word is used in a variety of situations and with a variety of emotions behind it is leading to the confusion. There is certainly a difference between muttering a curse word under your breath and cursing at children, though neither should be common practice. A single mistake should be forgiven but bad habits require reform. Unfortunately for this teacher, his situation has taken on national attention and has again raised a microscope to the teaching profession.

Jennifer Cerbasi works as a special education teacher at a public school in New Jersey. As owner of The Learning Link, LLC, she works with parents in the home to support children's academic, social, emotional, and physical health through a variety of services. Jennifer utilizes her training in the field of Applied Behavior Analysis in both settings to foster children's development. In addition to her work both in the classroom and at home, she is also a member of the National Association of Special Education Teachers and the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development. For more information, go towww.jennifercerbasi.com.