Controversial Lesson on Dirty Words

October 9, 2008 12:38:57 AM PDT
A concerned citizen named JP Sarkisian made up a colorful list of those naughty words the kids saw, and showed them to the school board.Board President Tony Vang did not appreciate the lesson. "Mr. Sarkisian, this is not appropriate to show that list ... it is not appropriate. I would appreciate if you to put it away." Vang said.

The 21 swear words were used in classes at Tioga Middle school at the start of the school year as part of a program to teach kids what words are inappropriate to use at school.

But it backfired and parents say their kids learned words they shouldn't have heard.

Parent Timothy Baber put it this way, "We definitely know there were 21 words of profanity that were implanted in my son's memory for life."

Baber and his fiancée, Erin Hawkins, are upset about the words their 13 year old son learned, but even more upset by what they believe was a cover up.

Baber says the district denied their rights as parents to see the actual material used in the classroom.

Baber says, " We're seeking accountability for breaking state and federal law, and we're also asking that an investigation be done by someone other than Tioga administration."

Tim Baber took his concerns to the school board, after filing a formal complaint.

He told the panel, "I have faith in the board to finally be the ones to take action."

And, he got an apology from School Superintendent Michael Hanson, who said, "I will say to you know, we made a mistake and we have handled it as a personnel matter and I apologize to you."

And while Hanson tried to explain this was a well intentioned effort aimed at curbing the use of profanity his apology was not enough.

Erin Hawkins, whose 13 year old son saw the words, said an apology just wasn't enough. "Laws have been broken here. State and Federal law have been broken here and we're looking for justice in these laws being broken. For somebody to be held accountable. Simply apologizing is not going to do that," Hawkins says.

In addition to apologizing, Superintendent Hanson acknowledged it was inappropriate, tried to assure parents it was being dealt with, and urged them to move on.

But, that's not likely. A complaint has been filed and the concerned parents say they want to know why documents and e-mails containing the naughty words were destroyed, and teachers were forbidden from talking about it.

They want an outside investigation.

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