Teachers' speech could be censored by new bill

Teachers in Arizona need to be extra careful with their behavior in the classroom or else they’re the ones that might get punished.

After receiving multiple reports of teachers using foul and inappropriate language in the classroom, a group of Republican lawmakers have decided to take action. They are proposing a new legislation that would require teachers to act in accordance with Federal Communication Commission  (FCC) guidelines, which currently regulate what can be said on TV and radio.


Should the bill pass, it would limit obscene or profane language, as defined by the FCC. Teachers who violate the standards would face penalties, which could range from a warning to being fired if multiple infringements occur.

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Senator Lori Klein, a sponsor of the bill, says that "students are young and impressionable and teachers should not be using four-letter words in the classroom."

As of now, the legislation would apply to all public schools from pre-K to college, but that could change as the exact specifications of the bill are still “being tweaked.”

I have to say, this seems a little extreme. Teachers should absolutely not be cursing or using unprofessional language in their classrooms, especially when teaching younger students. And they should definitely be penalized if multiple incidents of this nature have occurred. But making it a state law is a little over-the-top.

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Why can’t teachers be reprimanded without taking it to the Senate? If school districts aren’t responsible for implementing and enforcing the policies in their own classrooms, then what’s the point of having school boards and superintendents? Besides, Arizona lawmakers are already under fire in the media because of other issues. Maybe they should focus on fixing those instead of spending their time on a subject like this, which doesn’t really fall under their jurisdiction anyway.

What do you think of this bill? Do you believe it should be made into a law?

Image via jeremy.wilburn/flickr