Vulgar language can be heard throughout modern media and other environments, such as work and school. As culture and history evolve, has cursing become more accepted, or is it just another part of growing up?
Some teachers expect students to use professional and polite language in the school environment and in the classroom. Other teachers are not necessarily offended by cursing in their classroom, as long as the cursing is not directed to them or peers.
“If you usually call your best friend the B-word, don’t do it in class because it’s a different environment. You’re not at your house, or hanging out. You’re in a classroom where your suppose to learn and be respectful. Especially because other people get offended, so you don’t know how it would make them feel,” said Ms. Maitland Dunwoody, teacher, French department.
“I dont curse, but it does not necessarily bother me. The only time I would have a problem with it if a student was cursing at me. I don’t really enjoy hearing it, but it does not strongly offend me,” said Ms. Alicia Harvey, English department.
Teachers expect students to use appropriate language in hopes that they form better habits for language use.
“Cursing can definitely limit someone’s vocabulary. It can become a fallback instead of thinking about words that might be more appropriate for the conversation you’re having,” said Sarah Milford, social studies department.
Regardless of those expectations, students still choose to use less-than-professional language.
“I do curse, but I don’t think it limits my vocabulary because I’m still growing and expanding as a person and learning things everyday,” said Ashanti Allen, sophomore.
As cursing has become more socially acceptable, it creeps further into student vocabulary.
“Social media and everything around the world is getting smaller and more connected. They (students) think that they see somebody else doing it, so then they make it a part of their vocabulary,” Dunwoody said.
“At first cursing really bothered me, but now since I’m around it and it’s more of an everyday thing,” said Allen. ““As long as they’re not disrespecting anyone and not trying to curse out a teacher or student, then it doesn’t really bother me.”
The language of students in a professional environment can shape the impressions that individuals have of the speaker. Students hoping to make good impressions should be mindful of the consequences of their language use.
“More often or not if a student curses in class they kind of freak out, like ‘Oh I’m so sorry, I didn’t mean to’ because they know they’re not supposed to. However if I see someone calling someone a name maliciously, that makes me think less of them because I only want them to be the best that they can be,” said Dunwoody.
For students, cursing is just how they interact with each other, to get a point across or communicate when a person is serious.
“Most of us are really serious when it comes to actual everyday life things. We don’t just curse to seem all cool or whatever, it just happens,” said Allen.
“Cursing makes your point get across faster and makes people understand if your serious or not,” said Sekia Anderson, junior.
While the social aspects of using foul language are important to consider, the professional environment at school is important to other students.
“We come to school and administrators and teachers are always saying school is a workplace for learning, but then there are all these antics going on which really demotes the value of professionalism in school,” said Xavier Stovall, sophomore.
“Cursing in class would just put out a bad impression of who I am,” said Allen.
Some students claim that cursing can help relieve stress building up at school or home.
“When I played in my volleyball game yesterday, I messed up and I had to scream a loud word. I just calmed down and got myself back together after that. Like I had my mini-spaz out I guess,” said Anderson.
“When arguing with someone or when I’m really mad, I might let a few slip out,” said Allen.
Ultimately teachers understand how those words slip out and that stress builds up from daily life, but they urge students to be mindful of their surroundings.
“I don’t think a lot of people realize what the word is or what the word means, people sometimes just go off. Like, when someone stumps their toe and they say the ‘s’ word, I don’t think they register that its a ‘bad word’,” Dunwoody said.
On the flipside, students might also have a strong reaction toward seeing an adult engage in less professional modes of communication.
“There was this one teacher that I had last year who did not mind if we cussed and she cussed with us. I see that as trying to bond, but it’s kind of coming off as the teacher trying too hard to bond with the kids,” said Allen.
“Actually some of my teachers use cursing too so, it’s just a normal thing,” said Anderson.
“If I were to walk in a classroom and see a teacher saying a bunch of curse words, I would laugh, but at least this teacher is being honest with me and who they are and not sugar coating everything,” said Anderson.
Aside from 4-letter words, perhaps students should focus less on cursing and more on dire issues resulting from language use that affect people’s lives.
“I still hear kids using slurs that have to do with people’s sexuality, I hear slurs that deal with people’s intellectual abilities, and I think a lot of people don’t even think of them as slurs.It’s just a slang word for them, but they are slurs. I notice it a lot and it really bothers me,” said Milford.