Teachers: Bill would censor speech

Feb. 13, 2012 at 3:43 PM

PHOENIX, Feb. 13 (UPI) -- A group of Republican Arizona lawmakers proposed legislation that would limit teachers' language to what's permitted on TV and radio, teachers say.

The bill restricts teachers to using words that conform to Federal Communications Commission regulations on what can be said on TV or radio, The (Phoenix) Arizona Republic reported Sunday.

FCC regulations limit obscene, indecent and profane speech, defined as "language so grossly offensive to members of the public who actually hear it as to amount to a nuisance."

"Students are young and impressionable and teachers should not be using four-letter words in the classroom," said state Sen. Lori Klein, R-Anthem, who sponsored the bill.

Teachers say the legislation is a waste of time.

"I don't find this to be such a significant issue that we would have to have a law," said Chris Maza, a 20-year high school French teacher.

Maza added that the bill is also too broad: It limits teachers' speech whether in the classroom or not.

Maza said he believes this is a local control issue best left to the school districts.

State Senate Minority Leader David Schapira, D-Tempe, a former high school teacher and current Tempe Union High School District Governing Board member, agreed with Maza.

"In K-12 classrooms, teachers shouldn't be using those words with their students," he said. "But the school districts should implement the policies."

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