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article imageCalifornia teacher punishes student for saying 'Bless you'

By Cynthia Trowbridge     Oct 1, 2011 in World
Steve Cuckovich, a health teacher in Vacaville, California, penalized a student by taking 25 points off his test score for saying "Bless you" to another student after she sneezed.
After a student was penalized for telling another student "Bless you" after she sneezed parents were upset and some complained their children's First Amendment rights were being violated.
The reports Alan Johnson, a parent, said, "I think that's ridiculous. First the Pledge of Allegiance, now preventing a kid from saying 'Bless you?'"
One student from Will C. Wood High School said, "You know we're Catholic. We're supposed to say, you know, your religion." reports
Another student said, "Man, you gonna lose points if you say bless you in the classroom. Man, that's messed up."
With parents and students complaining, the principal, Cliff DeGraw, of the high school said students won't be penalized anymore for saying "Bless you" reports DeGraw said,"He realizes his mistake and that this wasn't the best way to get the kids to behave."
Fox40 reports Cuckovich said his punishement had nothing to do with religion. He said, "The blessing doesn't really make sense anymore. When you sneeze in the old days, they thought you were dispelling evil spirits out of your body. So they were saying, 'God bless you,' for getting rid of evil spirits. But today, what you're doing doesn't really make any sense anymore." reports Cuckovich believed that it was causing a disruption and interfered with learning.
Superintendent Niederkorn said in a statement, "Of question is whether a series of these repeated remarks by several students constitutes freedom of speech or a classroom disruption and merits student discipline."
The administration is still investigating the disruption.
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