New York City’s Dept. of Education’s 50 “Forbidden” Words

Dennis Walcott

New York City Department of Education Chancellor Dennis Walcott wants to ban some potentially offensive words from school tests. However, these are not profanities, racial slurs or other derogatory comments. These are words about subjects that the students are supposed to learn.

For example, the proposed ban includes the words “dinosaur” and “evolution.” It seems that creationist-minded kids might get upset about science so they need to be protected from learning. This takes the ignorance is bliss message way too far.

CBS in New York explains, or tries to explain, this nonsense:

Fearing that certain words and topics can make students feel unpleasant, officials are requesting 50 or so words be removed from city-issued tests.

The word “dinosaur” made the hit list because dinosaurs suggest evolution which creationists might not like, WCBS 880′s Marla Diamond reported. “Halloween” is targeted because it suggests paganism; a “birthday” might not be happy to all because it isn’t celebrated by Jehovah’s Witnesses.

There was a time when school was supposed to be a place for education, turning students into citizens and preparing them for the real world. Walcott and his administration appear intent on removing any controversy from education so it can be as exciting as white bread, without the crust.

Yet Walcott explained this isn’t political correctness gone overboard but just some guidance for test developers to be sensitive.

“So we’re not an outlier in being politically correct. This is just making sure that test makers are sensitive in the development of their tests,” Walcott said.

No “terrorism,” no “politics,” no “religions,” no “crime,” no “junk food” and no “celebrities” are just a few of the banned words. While other places across the country also ban certain words for their math and English tests, none have gone to the extent of New York City. All this to avoid the possibility that these words “could evoke unpleasant emotions in the students,” as warned by Matthew Mittenthal, spokesman for the NYC Department of Education.

Some of these words are beyond the comprehension about why they would be banned. Why should the excessive use of television be viewed as forbidden? Is this because some kid who watches television constantly might feel that is not an appropriate thing to do after all? Any child should feel uncomfortable about that so that he or she can get some exercise or real intellectual stimulation, like from reading a book. It is amazing that reading or book are not banned too. How about banning bully as well? Just think of all the poor bullies who might feel singled out and ashamed.

This is education? Walcott and his cohorts should put on dunce caps and parade around the city’s schools as examples of what happens when an adult grows up and acts stupid.

This is how education fails, by not stimulating and provoking students. Here are the “offensive” words that our children need to be protected from:

  • Abuse (physical, sexual, emotional, or psychological)
  • Alcohol (beer and liquor), tobacco, or drugs
  • Birthday celebrations (and birthdays)
  • Bodily functions
  • Cancer (and other diseases)
  • Catastrophes/disasters (tsunamis and hurricanes)
  • Celebrities
  • Children dealing with serious issues
  • Cigarettes (and other smoking paraphernalia)
  • Computers in the home (acceptable in a school or library setting)
  • Crime
  • Death and disease
  • Divorce
  • Evolution
  • Expensive gifts, vacations, and prizes
  • Gambling involving money
  • Halloween
  • Homelessness
  • Homes with swimming pools
  • Hunting
  • Junk food
  • In-depth discussions of sports that require prior knowledge
  • Loss of employment
  • Nuclear weapons
  • Occult topics (i.e. fortune-telling)
  • Parapsychology
  • Politics
  • Pornography
  • Poverty
  • Rap Music
  • Religion
  • Religious holidays and festivals (including but not limited to Christmas, Yom Kippur, and Ramadan)
  • Rock-and-Roll music
  • Running away
  • Sex
  • Slavery
  • Terrorism
  • Television and video games (excessive use)
  • Traumatic material (including material that may be particularly upsetting such as animal shelters)
  • Vermin (rats and roaches)
  • Violence
  • War and bloodshed
  • Weapons (guns, knives, etc.
  • Witchcraft, sorcery, etc.

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4 Responses to New York City’s Dept. of Education’s 50 “Forbidden” Words

  1. Rose says:

    “Idiocracy” here we come!

  2. Susan Gerbic says:

    I totally agree about the sports one. I remember on tests stating that something was the size of a football field. I only had a vague idea what size that actually was. Then when I thought about it I didn’t know what part was the “field”, just the marked areas, or all the green inside the stadium? I know it sounds stupid, but having little knowledge of how the game is played I didn’t know if the outside area was important to the game or not. And then lots of fields were different sizes. I’m sure I was just over thinking it. Also in most of the world, “football” means something different than here in America.

  3. Glenn Church says:


    You are right, but I think the reference to the sports in a situation like that is just a poorly worded test question. It doesn’t give enough information to answer it correctly without knowing facts beyond the testing question, which sounds like it was a math problem in your case. I believe NYC Dept. of Education is viewing reference to sports as offensive to students who are not as athletic in ability.

  4. Jehovah’s Witnesses reject Birthdays all holidays,Thanksgiving even benign Mother’s day.
    The Watchtower leaders want to be ‘different’ for the sake of being different.Jehovah’s Witnesses are a dysfunctional group from the get-go .
    Christmas-Jesus was not born on exactly Dec 25th,but he also did not have his *invisible* second coming in the month of October 1914,a falsehood that is the core doctrine of the Watchtower religion.

    *tell the truth don’t be afraid*–Danny Haszard

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