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Arizona GOP: Teachers Shall Not Teach “Profane” Books

Arizona GOP: Teachers Shall Not Teach “Profane” Books
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To say that a new bill in Arizona is draconian is to risk understatement. SB 1467 seeks to impose restrictions on the conduct of any teacher in a public school setting and not only in the classroom, but in their own homes. Under the law, those who teach at public schools would be prohibited from engaging in “speech or conduct that would violate the standards adopted by the Federal Communications Commission concerning obscenity, indecency and profanity if that speech or conduct were broadcast on television or radio.”

As written, SB 1467 is simply scary. As Stephen D. Foster, Jr., writes on Addicting Info, the bill in effect says that teachers “can’t do things that aren’t allowed on television.” Specifically, the FCC says that

It is a violation of federal law to air obscene programming at any time. It is also a violation of federal law to air indecent programming or profane language during certain hours.

Educators of students of all ages are included in SB 1467, from preschool, elementary, middle and high school teachers to those in vocational education programs. Professors at public community colleges or public universities would also be affected. For the first violation, an individual could be suspended for at least a week without compensation. A second violation would being a two-week suspension without compensation. A third violation would lead to the termination of an individual.

The sponsors of SB 1467 are five Republicans, Senator Al Melvin, Senator Andy Biggs, Senator Don Shooter, Senator Lori Klein and Senator Steve Smith. As Adam Peck on Think Progress points out, it was last summer that Klein “raised eyebrows when, during an interview with a reporter from the Arizona Republic, she took out a loaded handgun and pointed it at the reporter’s chest.”

Regulating Free Speech in the Classroom — and Beyond

Certainly the text of SB 1467 suggests that its authors have some concerns about free speech and, in particular, about imposing limits on it. Greg Lukianoff of the Foundation for Individual Rights In Education notes that not only would the bill prohibit the teaching of sexuality “and other non-Victorian topics” but teachers — and university professors — could be penalized and even lose their jobs by teaching such classics as The Canterbury Tales, The Catcher in the Rye, Ulysses and “probably every work by an obscure English writer named William Shakespeare.” Forget about teaching film studies as you can be sure that “movies like The GodfatherThe GraduateAnnie Hall, or for that matter, Pulp Fiction” would all be on the “don’t-show” list.

The last-named author uses “gadzooks” (“God’s hooks,” i.e., the nails on the cross on which Christ was crucified) and “zounds” (“God’s wounds”) in his plays — profane expressions in his time though not in ours. But if SB 1467′s sponsors feel Shakespeare should be regulated, who’s to stop them from reaching even further back than the late 16th – early 17th century, even past the last 14th century when The Canterbury Tales were written, to the ancient Greeks and Romans?

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134 comments

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10:05PM PST on Nov 23, 2012

What?

10:04PM PST on Nov 23, 2012

What?

10:29PM PST on Feb 18, 2012

Arizona seems to have totally lost it.

4:49AM PST on Feb 18, 2012

Let teachers at least swear under their breath and at home! I assure you they deserve the stress relief!

7:46PM PST on Feb 17, 2012

This is way beyond to far

3:07PM PST on Feb 17, 2012

Has Arizona totally gone to the dark side? Or are they just F@#%& nuts?

12:26PM PST on Feb 17, 2012

WTF???? There has to be something in the water in that state. Although I have relatives there and they are fairly normal....

12:19PM PST on Feb 17, 2012

Let me wash the outside of my head and don't try to wash its inside.

11:33AM PST on Feb 17, 2012

How ironic! It is the Republican hate and fear mongers who are profane!

6:12PM PST on Feb 16, 2012

thanks

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