NJ School Says Girls Can’t Curse (But Boys, *!#@ Yes!)

In an effort to teach girls to practice “ladylike” behavior, a New Jersey Catholic high school has asked its female students to take a month-long no-cursing pledge. The boys at Queen of Peace High School in North Arlington have not, though, been asked to do so.

In the words of local paper, the Bergen Record, “What the hell is up with that?”

Resource room teacher Lori Flynn is behind the “civility campaign” at the northern New Jersey school. “We want ladies to act like ladies,” she says. The principal, Brother Larry Lavallee, contends that the girls at his school have “the foulest language” although it’s actually the male gender who is more apt to talk a blue streak, says psychologist Timothy Jay, a professor at Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts and author of Why We Curse.

The no cursing (if you’re a female Queen of Peace student) campaign has been timed to coincide with Catholic Schools Week whose 2013 theme is “Catholic Schools Raise the Standards.” Teachers also say it meant to be a tie-in to Valentine’s Day based on the notion that women who curse are “unattractive.” The Bergen Record indeed quotes 16-year-old Queen of Peace Student Nicholas Recarte and baseball team pitcher as saying such, while noting that he “can’t help shouting obscenities from the mound after mishaps.”

Don’t expect him to get singled out for doing so, either. The staff at Queen of Peace High School seem to think that by having girls refrain from cursing “their improved manners would take hold and rub off on the boys.” Female Queen of Peace students are described as taking this pledge in homeroom:

“I do solemnly swear not to use profanities of any kind within the walls and properties of Queen of Peace High School. In other words, I swear not to swear. So help me God.”

Flynn tells ABC News that a number of students have told her they “love” the campaign, which is an attempt to “to go back to some old fashioned values.” She even claims that some of the boys are feeling “snubbed”: ”It was supposed to be a really sweet, innocent, special treat for the ladies specifically for the month of February kind of thing. And I guess it made the boys feel a little slighted.”

Noting that “we’re just starting here,” Flynn adds that, should students wish to continue the no-cursing campaign, the school will do so and let the boys in on it, too. The all-boys Seton Hall Preparatory School has, she says, contacted her about creating a civility code during Lent.

Is The No Cursing Campaign Only About Foul Language?

After swearing off swearing, students are given lollipops and a pin with a red line through a pair of pink lips. Principal Lavelee himself acknowledges that the pin looks like it’s tell the girls “no kissing” which (he admits) is “a little harder to enforce.”

All very well. But if you consider Flynn’s and Lavalee’s words, cleaning up (female) students’ foul language is just part of it: the real motivation behind the campaign seems to be a more general wish to instill “traditional values” about “romantic” relationships — that is (dare it be said?) ones that could involve sex.

(Which while not being, last time I checked, a curse word, is probably best not uttered at Queen of Peace.)

Psychologist Jay tells the Bergen Record programs to stop students from using profanity (whether implemented by students themselves or teachers or others) “NEVER work.”

Considering that the Catholic Church’s official policy is to forbid the use of contraception, and the reality that 82 percent of Catholics say birth control is morally acceptable, it’s fair to wonder if those who’ve sworn off swearing are only giving the usual lip service to a doctrine handed down from on high.

Related Care2 Coverage

6 Hateful Things The Religious Right Does ‘Out Of Love’ For LGBTs

If You’re a Catholic Church Employee, You Don’t Have as Many Rights

Catholic School Says Homosexuality Is “Deviant Behavior”


Photo from Thinkstock

Love This? Never Miss Another Story.


Irene Martone
Irene Martone6 months ago

Well, I graduated from that queen of peace hell hole in '73. I witnessed beatings and more abuse. The sisters of saint joseph were nazis. We would get detention if they didn't see us in church. I remember when a freaking nun told me to tie her shoe, which I did, and then she smacked me in the head because I "didn't do it the nuns' way." WTF!!!!! They were psychotic. Discrimination? The boys were on the second floor, the girls were on the first - and we were NOT allowed to talk to them. It was the concentration camp for catholic children. WHAT HELL. HELL IS FOR CHILDREN.

Sabrina I.
Past Member 2 years ago

Patriarchy 1 | Commonsense 0

Kathy Perez
Kathy Johnson2 years ago

are we surprised that a religious body is practicing sexism?

Amanda M.
Amanda M.2 years ago

I could only agree with something like this if there was an equal policy or program in place for the BOYS! If the school wants girls to "act like ladies," then they should be equally focusing on teaching the boys to "act like gentlemen!" What's good for the goose is good for the gander!

I see that the old "blame the women for everything" double standards that the Religious Reich love so much are still in play. Ugh.

And people wonder why I'm not Christian.

Amy L.
Amy L.2 years ago

Women are naturally superior communicator's - this school should embrace and encourage their girls to use colorful and imaginative choice words in appropriate various ways of communication.

Pat W.
Pat W.2 years ago

wow, no wonder we came up with womens lib.
so lets put history back some years...
how many women teachers cuss, eh?

Cathie Summers
cathie S.2 years ago

Well I would love to see our young Ladies and young Men not cuss and do the right thing BUT I would NEVER let a school tell my daughters they are NOT as good as a man and that is what is going on at this school. I believe that this school wants us back in the kitchen where men think we belong {well some men} So I will say this HELL no we won't go!!!!!

Robin W.

This is just so dumb and sexist, I am appalled that the parents haven't said something. I don't like hearing male curse any more than females. Period. Cursing is the sign of an insufficient vocabulary and a miniscule mind.

Angela Roquemore
Angela Roquemore2 years ago

There's too much cussing going on anyway. Whichever one of you said "Real gentlemen don't xcuss" is right. But then, "Real ladies don't cuss, either." If you have manners, YOU SIMPLY DON'T CUSS, PERIOD!

Ana R2 years ago

“We want ladies to act like ladies,” LMAO
I couldn't resist...