by Say N Goodwords
If you’ve ever been to high school, you’ve probably encountered some swearing. Many schools, including our own Madison High School have outlawed the use of swear words, but that doesn’t stop a good chunk of the student body from using vulgar language on a regular basis. However, when people swear, they aren’t always aware of how it makes others feel. You would think schools might at least try to help the situation; but in reality, it’s quite the opposite. School dances in Rexburg play songs with swearing and suggestive language, and it needs to stop because it breaks the rules and hurts the students.
Madison High School does not even allow swearing, so school dances should be no exception. The MHS handbook states that “Students at school sponsored off-campus activities are subject to all rules and regulations” (“MHS” 11). Any use of profanity is considered a Class III Disciplinary Action, punishable by parent contact, suspension, and even recommendation for expulsion (“MHS” 23). Madison school district seems to take use of dirty and suggestive language very seriously; why not, then, enforce such rules when it clearly states in the handbook that rules apply on and off campus at school-sponsored events? P.M. Forni, author of "Choosing Civility: The 25 Rules of Considerate Conduct," notes that many teens are comfortable with swearing because parents and teachers don’t address the issue. School dances should not be playing songs with suggestive language because it sends the message that teachers are very lenient on important rules, and that does not set a good example for students.
In addition, such bad songs encourage others to swear, which will have negative effects on them later in life. Almost two-thirds of employers said they don’t think very highly of those who swear in the workplace. Swearing can also have negative effects on the brain’s frontal lobe. Playing songs with bad words at school dances encourages swearing. Not only does swearing hurt students socially, but it might actually harm them psychologically, too.
Furthermore, many students are uncomfortable with swearing. A Gallup Youth Survey found that 46 percent of the teenagers surveyed (ages 13-17) admitted to swearing at least several times a week, even daily. That’s less than half! It is unfair and inconsiderate for Madison High School to ignore the majority of their student body’s values and beliefs. Some adolescents hear suggestive language often enough that they don’t realize it’s wrong. Inidnan V. is an inner-city school teacher where she often hears swearing. This teacher explains that lesson are often needed to remind students of the harmful aspects of swearing. “They hate these lessons because deep down inside, they know how to act." Everyone deserves for their values and beliefs to be respected. Playing such dirty songs at school dances here in Rexburg does not comply with that right.
“Well, what about freedom of speech?” some may ask. “It’s a free country!” Truly, America is a wonderful place with religious freedom, freedom of the press, and freedom of speech. This does not, though, imply that such rights and creative licenses are to be forced upon others. Others may point out that if those who do not support swearing don’t have to come to the dance. But is that really fair? High school is a time for making wonderful memories and experiencing special milestones, including formal dances. It is simply unkind and selfish to play songs that teach teens that drugs, sex, and swearing are okay - because they’re not. School dances should be a clean, fun, family-friendly event for all teenagers to enjoy. Freedom of speech is not more important than being kind and considerate of anyone.
Rules are rules. If Madison High School prohibits the use of profanity, they should not put bad songs on the prom playlist. Why expose teenagers to such language at a school-sponsored event and risk their future career, and even their mental health? The students of Madison deserve better than that. We all deserve to have a voice, but that does not mean disrespecting others. So what can you do? Talk to your school administrators. Join the dance committee and push for cleaner, better songs. Stand up for yourself, as well as the majority of students who chose not to listen to dirty language. Let Rexburg know: We don’t give a darn for swear words played at school dances.