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Student punished for 'bless you'

Sept. 29, 2011 at 1:34 PM

VACAVILLE, Calif., Sept. 29 (UPI) -- A California high school teacher who reduced a student's grade for saying "bless you" to another student who sneezed said the punishment was about disruption.

Steve Cuckovich, health teacher at Will C. Wood High School in Vacaville, said he knocked 25 points off a student's grade for saying "bless you," but the punishment had nothing to do with religious beliefs, KXTL-TV, Sacramento, reported Thursday.

"It's got to do with an interruption of class time," Cuckovich said.

"The blessing doesn't really make sense anymore," he said. "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."

Principal Cliff DeGraw said he has spoken with Cuckovich and the teacher now understands the punishment was inappropriate.

"He realizes there's better ways to do that. We don't condone that type of punishment," DeGraw said.

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