The headline is “NYC Department of Education Creates List of ‘Forbidden Words.’” At first I thought these would be the words one should not use in polite conversation. What we used to call “dirty” words, dealing with bodily functions and sex.
How naive we elders can be. Here’s the list as shown by Fox News:
Abuse (physical, sexual, emotional, or psychological)
Alcohol (beer and liquor), tobacco, or drugs
Birthday celebrations (and birthdays)
Cancer (and other diseases)
Catastrophes/disasters (tsunamis and hurricanes)
Children dealing with serious issues
Cigarettes (and other smoking paraphernalia)
Computers in the home (acceptable in a school or library setting)
Death and disease
Expensive gifts, vacations, and prizes
Gambling involving money
Homes with swimming pools
In-depth discussions of sports that require prior knowledge
Loss of employment
Occult topics (i.e. fortune-telling)
Religious holidays and festivals (including but not limited to Christmas, Yom Kippur, and Ramadan)
Television and video games (excessive use)
Traumatic material (including material that may be particularly upsetting such as animal shelters)
Vermin (rats and roaches)
War and bloodshed
Weapons (guns, knives, etc.)
Witchcraft, sorcery, etc.
Good grief, Charlie Brown. The alleged reason for this kind of list? Don’t want the little dears “upset” or disturbed when they take tests at school. It’s going to be really, really hard to teach the little bairns about the Revolution, Civil War, and World War II, isn’t it? And assigning Harry Potter books? Fuhgeddaboudit.
The motivation behind such a list is unsound to begin with. Life can not be censored; kids don’t live in a sterile bubble. Better they start getting used to being “upset” when there’s no real harm.
Sooner or later, life will throw something truly nasty and harmful your way. Best to be a little prepared, don’t you think?