On many levels, this context of the use of “Jesus Christ” is not profanity. First, mere words, and in this case – names, are not volatile. People, students or teachers, are volatile! It is the reaction and the way these words are used that makes them questionable. The definition of profanity is denial of the sacred. We are a worldly society, and public schools are open to all. Profanity is not necessarily a negative thingit is secularization. Perhaps it is just reality.
Many teachers and school officials over-react to supposedly offensive language, based on their own individual beliefs. Like censorship in the media, the use of any words should only be limited by the harm they may have done, such as cases of bullying or racism.
Most “profanity” is religious or sex-related, and therefore neutral. To some liberal people, the word “appropriate” is just as volatile and over-used, therefore de-constructed to meaninglessness. Our public schools are not religious institutions, and, so, any usage of religious-based expletives should not be isolated from general language and social mores.
These freedom-of-speech issues become most important in public education. As grade-school children, many of us used words that we did not even understand this is always a teaching opportunity! And a social-skill-building opportunity! We are far too sensitive to the dark side of verbalization when a bit of humor and gentle discussion could de-fuse some of these terms and words. The overly religious should simply be in private, religious schools if they need to be so sheltered. “Politically correct” can be neither, to be sure.
There is a lot of denial about the stress levels of school children, elementary or secondary. We have set them up in a ridiculously competitive and frustrating environment, and dis-allowed any form of physical release.
What do we expect? We can all use a bit of venting from time to time, and our children are no different. Our children are not growing up with “virgin ears.” They reflect what they hear, of course, and it’s not only from parents. And we all know that the forbidden becomes even more enticing. Perhaps our entire society needs some relaxation to achieve a more graceful vocabulary.
The energy wasted in monitoring every phrase that is muttered, every shout on the playground, could be better-used to create a learning experience which will joyfully allow for growth and the unfolding of understanding. Language can be a beautiful thing, and without a lot of negative assumptions and overbearing correction, it can evolve into mature communication.