War On Words: NYC Dept. Of Education Wants 50 ‘Forbidden’ Words Banned From Standardized Tests

'Dinosaur,' 'Birthday,' 'Halloween,' 'Poverty,' 'Divorce' Among Those Suggested

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — George Carlin is rolling over in his grave.

The New York City Department of Education is waging a war on words of sorts, and is seeking to have words they deem upsetting removed from standardized tests.

Marla Diamond Talks To Walcott, Student About Banned Words

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.

Julie Lewis’ family celebrates Christmas and Kwanzaa, but she told CBS 2’s Emily Smith she wants her children to appreciate and learn about other holidays and celebrations.

“They’re going to meet people from all walks of life and they’re going to have to learn to adjust,” Lewis said.

Words that suggest wealth are excluded because they could make kids jealous. “Poverty” is also on the forbidden list. That’s something Sy Fliegal with the Center for Educational Innovation calls ridiculous.

“The Petersons take a vacation for five days in their Mercedes … so what? You think our kids are going to be offended because they don’t have a Mercedes? You think our kids are going to say ‘I’m offended; how could they ask me a question about a Mercedes? I don’t have a Mercedes!'” Fliegal said.

In a throwback to “Footloose,” the word “dancing” is also taboo. However, there is good news for kids that like “ballet”: The city made an exception for this form of dance.

Also banned are references to “divorce” and “disease,” because kids taking the tests may have relatives who split from spouses or are ill.

Some students think banning these words from periodic assessment tests is ridiculous.

“If you don’t celebrate one thing you might have a friend that does it. So I don’t see why people would find it offensive,” Curtis High School Sophomore Jamella Lewis told Diamond.

Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott said the DOE is simply giving guidance to the test developers.

“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 Monday.

To which Fliegal responded: “It’s all of life! I don’t know how they figure out what not to put on the list. Every aspect of life is on the list.”

There are banned words currently in school districts nationwide. Walcott said New York City’s list is longer because its student body is so diverse.

Here is the complete list of words that could be banned:

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)


Children dealing with serious issues

Cigarettes (and other smoking paraphernalia)

Computers in the home (acceptable in a school or library setting)


Death and disease



Expensive gifts, vacations, and prizes

Gambling involving money



Homes with swimming pools


Junk food

In-depth discussions of sports that require prior knowledge

Loss of employment

Nuclear weapons

Occult topics (i.e. fortune-telling)





Rap Music


Religious holidays and festivals (including but not limited to Christmas, Yom Kippur, and Ramadan)

Rock-and-Roll music

Running away




Television and video games (excessive use)

Traumatic material (including material that may be particularly upsetting such as animal shelters)

Vermin (rats and roaches)


War and bloodshed

Weapons (guns, knives, etc.)

Witchcraft, sorcery, etc.

What do you think about the banned words list? Let us know below

  • LaurieLou

    No wonder my college freshmen are so ignorant. The School System ™ is too obsessed with this kind of crap instead of, you know, actually **TEACHING** them anything useful — like how to study, or how to synthesize information!

    • T

      You have said it best! I totally agree

    • marygee

      I guess that explains it…..

    • Adie Lipton

      The ultimate in progressive liberal stupidity

      • http://bluescat48.wordpress.com bluescat48

        That is an oxymoron. Conservatism is stupidity. The idea is to move forward not back to the dark ages, which modern so called conservatives attempt.

    • Em

      The more that you tell people not to say a certain word, the more power that word has over people. If you use these words more often, you take them off of their throne and teach these children that these words are not wrong, they are a part of life. By not saying these words, you are also creating a bubble around children, telling them what is and is not acceptable. What about when they meet others from another country?

    • Jane Moor

      I don’t know about you but I think this idea of banning words is sounding a lot like George Orwell’s 1984, where everything is controlled by essentially, a fascist government. The only thing is, nobody knows and it doesn’t help that nobody even know what the word fascist is, or what it means.

      I dare say, soon enough the government will have it’s own secret police and two way television sets to keep an eye on the citizens and make sure they are not saying any of the bad words on the “super secret and highly corrosive to the mind, body and spirit, banned words” list

    • Sarah Marlowe

      Laurie- you are so right. What is it that these so called administrators of the NYCDOE are thinking? Or not, as the case appears to be……

    • sandy

      give me what he,s smoking and i,ll give him what i,m drinking it,s called reality

    • Louise Bell

      I wholeheartedly agree that this law is ridiculous, but not for most of the comments I’ve seen so far.
      Most seem to be about removing these words from curriculum. This article is addressing only standardized TESTS. I still see 2 major problems with it:
      1. How do you test what the students have learned if the subject can’t be mentioned in a test? For instance, poverty is a fact of life; our children not only need to learn about it and its impact on peoples lives, to help develop empathy, but need to be tested on that learning experience.
      2. Any form of censorship, once applied, is much easier to expand, even an inch at a time, to a broader application. We shouldn’t open the door to that!

      • Sarah Marlowe

        Here’s a petition that will go to the Mayor and the Chancellor proposing that this ban on these words be removed:


        If you believe that this ban on these words in standardized city tests is censorship and educationally harmful, please sign.

        • Sarah Marlowe

          To all that signed this petition, thanks.

          The NYCDOE has revoked the ban on the words that could be used on NYC standardized tests today, 4/3/2012. citing “lack of parental support”.

      • Kaye

        SPOT ON!

      • Paul Hartzer

        I agree. However, I do think it’s useful to have a list of sensitive subjects that test writers are urged to avoid unless it’s necessary to test the topic being tested.

        For instance, I can’t think of many mathematical concepts the understanding of which can’t be tested without using potentially controversial examples. I wouldn’t have everything that NYC has on this list, but I also would be hard-pressed to justify asking a question about cancer on a mathematics test if a question about weather patterns could test the same mathematical understanding.

        Obviously, the English and science tests are going to wander into more controversial areas. Forbidding the test makers from asking questions about macro-evolution on a science test is inane and counterproductive.

        On a side note, I find it intriguing how many people are lamenting the critical reasoning skills of today’s youth while at the same time bemoaning NYC’s attempt to strip these topics from the curriculum which, as you point out, is not NYC’s apparent goal (at this point, at least).

      • DH

        Unfortunately we opened that door a long long time ago and let the “PC Police” get started and they have never stopped. They “the so called educators” have been in the process of re-writing history and making it so our kids in the US are some of the most illiterate in the world. My son was in High School and taking a World History class and they were studying WWII. I asked him who Hitler was and what he tried to do, he said that he was the leader of Germany and that was it. I asked him if they taught him about the genocide and mass killing of the jewish people and he said “no, we never talked about that at all and it wasnt mentioned in his textbook either.

        We continue to let them change history and tell us what we can say or are allowed to learn and how we learn it and we reap what we sow for allowing them to get away with it.

        • InsaneMole

          Well I do see some logic behind this: In a scientifically clean test setting you want to eliminate every influence other than the one tested, and being upset about a word may be such an unwanted influence. But when eliminating such influences you should start with really important influences, not with the ones that seem easy to tackle… And thus the last bit of logic disapears..

          Now on to the main reason for my post: I’m from germany. We discuss Hitler and the genocide in the schools again and again because we want our children to know about it, and how it was possible that something like that happened. The most terryfiing part of it is that our grandparents and great-grandparents were normal people, not crazy in any way. (Most of them, and not any more than other normal people that is). And it still happened.
          At the same time the main reason why we can now live free and happy here is the help of america. You not only helped in getting rid of Hitler, you also helped rebuild our country in new and better ways.
          So I beg of you: please do not forget! If too many people forget, it could happen again. Maybe not in america, but somewhere else. What if nobody sees it in time because they all forgot? Today there is nuclear power all over the world, so winning will not be as “easy” as 1945. Please let not the country that saved the world be the stepping stone to its end!

          • http://madgater.wordpress.com madgater

            indeed…..”Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it”…..and sadly I am seeing history begin to repeat itself in our once proud nation

    • Jan Kelley

      That just shows the ignorance of those who think they have a right to tell everyone what to do! This is a free country and they should just go jump in the lake!

    • MaryT

      absolutely ridiculous!!!!! what next? we wont be able to wear nice cloths and shoes, speak proper english? Oh lets no forget..the dept of education must also give up the HOLIDAYS that the schools get for Presidents day, Martin Luther King day, Christmas/Holiday break, Memorial day, and Spring break. If you cannot speak the words you should not be allowed to take the days off and celebrate them

      • RandyK

        This sounds like a great way to solve problems.
        I heard of a college department chairman who would have faculty meetings on Saturday morning. He told everyone they could go home once they solved whatever problem they had to work on. These meetings never lasted more than a couple hours.
        Now we could tell everyone – you only get to have the holidays you are willing to talk about and not be offended by.

    • Lovern

      I cannot believe that the educational system in New York is REALLY REALLY REALLY worried so much about these words when all of them are what’s going on in the world today. Did these so called teachers/educators have any of these words in their testing?—well…maybe that’s why they cannot teach the children correctly……COME ON…..why don’t they put their so called “minds” into better use and TEACH THE CHILDREN instead of trying to make MORE LAWS AND RULES.

      • mbirdlowry

        It is the administrators, superintendents and state legislation that dictate what we teach in the classroom. It is so frustrating to be attacked for what we teach when we are bound by standards. The powers that be assume that each child hits developmental milestones at exactly the same time during their schooling and that each child has exactly the same life experiences and capabilities. Combine that with curriculum and texts that are bland and irrelevant and you have our current school system. This is what the public voted for and these are the constraints that bind teachers. You have to be a genius of creativity and spend hours of prep to produce a classroom experience for your students that will help them overcome the tedium of standardized testing and core curriculum requirements.

    • Mark Wells


    • Andrew

      Unbelievable! Grow up children, fascism is NOT a solution. Yes, banning language in any situation = fascism, plain and simple. If you want to live in a fascist state, I suggest Nazi Germany circa 1936 – 1944.



        • Jack

          Quit with the CAPS already PHYLLIS. It’s offensive and it hurts my feelings

          • Jack

            Quit with the CAPS already PHYLLIS. It’s offensive and it hurts my feelings. Oops offensive must be a banned word.






    • devin

      Mark Twain said that “Education consists mainly of what we have unlearned.” I think you’re right and college freshmen start their education by leaving the NYC system.

      • Kaye


        • Insatiable

          Please note that Dennis Wolcott had never even drawn so much as one paycheck from a school district until Bloomberg appointed him Chancellor. Just like all of his appointments. Real educators are outraged by this joke. Wonder why NY parents despise Bloomberg?

          • PHYLLIS LEVY


            • Jay Wendell


            • John

              Phyllis for PRESIDENT! ALL YOUR BASE ARE BELONG TO US.

          • PHYLLIS LEVY


            • Sherry

              And throw some punctuation in there as well.

              • Tsk

                And maybe a bit of grammar, so the sentences make sense.

              • Shane Hillburg

                Another public school degenerate that passes as a real person.

                “The aim of public education is not to spread enlightenment at all; it is simply to reduce as many individuals as possible to the same safe level, to breed a standard citizenry, to put down dissent and originality” ~ H. L. Mencken


              • Harry

                I’m glad someone said that. And just because this stuff isn’t on the tests doesn’t mean people aren’t going to be exposed to it. It’s just illogical to sensor everything when 20 minutes after the test they’re going to be exposed to it in the real world. This kind of mentality is creating a culture where people believe that if they’re offended by something they have a god given right to change it (oh damn I said god (oh damn i said damn)). Kids learn about free speech but adults seem to forget that being offended is a risk involved in free speech. I say put the drugs alcohol and gambling in the tests. Throw in the birthdays, the music, the dance, and the nuclear war. If someone gets offended, well they can just blog about it :).

                • Mary Jane

                  Um, it’s God, with a capital G, dammit! Just threw that in there because I can see that some people are more concerned about grammar than content. I DON’T FIND IT ANY HARDER TO READ THIS than this. All that aside, Harry you are right. Our kids need to learn about the world we live in today and all of these words are a very real part of it. If you’re not teaching and talking about these things in school, your kids will be slow to develop socially. Stop holding their hands like their babies. For God’s sake, “dinosaur?” Seriously? Ridiculous!

            • Rebecca

              You do know that writing in all caps just makes this incredibly difficult to read right?

              • Sergio

                agree hahaha

      • Shane Hillburg

        “The aim of public education is not to spread enlightenment at all; it is simply to reduce as many individuals as possible to the same safe level, to breed a standard citizenry, to put down dissent and originality” ~ H. L. Mencken

        —— http://911essentials.com

      • Lisa

        Wow.. this is ludicrous. Real life is what they want to ban. Why don’t they just get some cellophane and wrap the tests up and the kids separate.. oh wait, better yet, let’s not do tests because that might discriminate too.. oh oh, maybe we should make a longer list..no no no.. we shouldn’t even comment because this might offend the ‘banners’.. oh my .. I know.. we can create new face masks for all kids attending public schools and mandatory public masks. Let me see, design them with blinders, cotton balls, noise cancelling headphones, and electric current to zap out any acquired unsafe thoughts. This is the same thing as the ridiculous overuse of hand sanitation liquids. Yes, our children need to be protected from certain amounts of educational material at certain ages. But to deprive them from reality, that will not only make them cushioned individuals, but weak, impressionable, and gullible. Much easier to subdue and ‘convert’ to whatever political doctrines put before them…wait, where have we seen this before? oh yes, in Europe, HiHo!

        • Robin

          I’m with you! I had to pinch myself because I keep having this dream and in it the Nazis are coming-Here. I am sorry to send you this semianonymous communication, but you might be interested to know that there is a company – Ariane Space- the name gave me pause. They put satellites into space through advanced rocket technologies. http://www.arianespace.com

        • Elena

          I offer condoms instead of cellophane, or is the word “condom” not correct and may hurt someone’s feelings?

          • Carla

            Of course it will! Condoms are a form of birth control, which some folks don’t believe in.

        • MsBeaHaven

          Well said!!! This is a scary world we are living in – too sanitized.

        • Mary Jane

          I’m with you Lisa! Very well said!

      • Breenzanemom

        AMEN! In a few years, no one will be allowed to speak or write anything for fear of “hurting someone’s feelings”. Political correctness just keeps on reaching it’s nasty tentacles into every aspect of our lives……

        • jack

          Tentacles is a banned word. Too much like testicles which must be banned

          • TOYLUH

            Tentacles is a banned word? That’s absurd. People, these are just words. You give them power when you cower to them. Living your life in fear of words is redundant. Describe your life how you want to.

    • Yashmak

      This whole thing is simply unbelievable. Do these so-called ‘educators’ really believe they’re helping the students by doing things like this? The kids are going to encounter these words in the real world, after all. Perhaps their motivation is more directed by the desire to avoid “outrage” from excessively PC parents.

      Our children aren’t made out of glass and tissue paper. They’re tougher than we believe. They can handle seeing the word evolution, or abuse, or dinosaur on a test without suffering significant trauma. Educators who cannot wrap their minds around that notion need some re-education themselves

      • steve

        “Educators” have nothing to do with it. The people in charge of education aren’t educators, they’re administrators. None of these people have been in a classroom in years. Some of them haven’t been in a classroom since they graduated.

        • Sue

          Agreed! As a retired teacher, NOTHING fired me up more than an administrator dictating what went on in my classroom without any knowledge of developmentally appropriate practices.

    • JoeFriday

      American high school students are at a serious disadvantage when compared to their peers in the other industrialized nations. This is just another example of why.

    • chris

      You are so right. These people who made this decision and call themselves Educators, well………to me they are just as DUMB as this decision that they have made. The next thing they are going to have to do is do away with the college entrance exams because they are going to be to dumb to pass it.

      • James

        Unfortunately they unjustly call themselves educators. Between all of these people they might have 5 years teaching experience

    • Sarah Marlowe

      If anyone needs any further proof about how those that run the DOE of NYC are deliberately “dumbing down” the public school system, this is it.

    • Noah

      I apologize if my comment went only to you. I meant to post it on the site not reply only to you. I agree with your point. and as a current college student I do not think that I was adequately prepared.

    • Lori

      As a public school teacher, I have to say, I had nothing to do with this nonsense.

    • Zooks

      They need to add another phrase to the list of words that are scary…New York Department of Education.

    • Noah

      If peoples time is spent worrying about how they are going to offend someone, whether it is with words or actions, they will get nothing done. It doesn’t really matter what you do or say because one of those will always offend someone else. People get so bent out of shape by words but George RR Martin could not have said it better when he put this in his books, “words are wind.” People should be worried about actual pressing matters.

    • http://sveilleux2011.wordpress.com Steve Veilleux

      The problem with Censorship is that once it becomes standard practice, there are no boundaries.

    • Really?

      A dinosaur runs away from a house with a swimming pool at 15mph in order to escape a tsunami. Meanwhile, a Parapsychologist leaves from his mansion with a personal computer at 20mph heading towards the tsunami because of a fortune teller’s ominous prediction. If a nuclear heat-seeking missile, flying at 25mph, is deployed from the location of the tsunami at the same time as the dinosaur and flies back and forth between the dinosaur and the Parapsychologist until they collide, how far will the nuclear heat-seeking missile have traveled?

      • Dimitri

        Excellent exercise, but you forgot to include the distance between the swimming pool and the mansion… I think you should add that a retarded teenage driver going at 35mph (10mph above the limit, of course) can cover the distance from the pool to the mansion in 2 hours while drinking beer all the time.

      • Theresa

        can you repeat the question please..lol
        I was a littte offended about the dinosaur running away..lol

    • Retired Army

      What I want to know is “WHY”: you are allowing this to transpire? I agree with all of the comments; and, this guy should be fired immediately! Why aren’t you at the school’s raising HELL? Why aren’t you flooding the Governor’s office, Mayor’s office, your State and Federal Congressional representatives demanding this radical fools resignation?


      • Tell it to the DOE

        Great point. I started to leave another in this long list of OMGs!, but instead I’ll send register my concern with the NYS DOE: http://schools.nyc.gov/contactdoe/

    • Rosie F

      All of this type of political correctness and attmepts at avoiding discomfort does not prepare our children for adulthood or the real world. Believe me your boss will never care if birthday makes you uncomfortable especially if it is being mentioned by an important client. Much more important to teach our kids that discomfort occurs and how to deal with it. Also what about the kids who are suffering because they can’t say these things?—the child who making a collection for a poverty stricken area — the child who is participating in a special religous program — the child who just built a model of a mercedes, the child who is getting to celebrate one last birthday with an ill parent etc. This mandate is just nonsense,

    • Chuck

      Mark Twain also said, “I have never let schooling interfere with my education.”

    • Anne-Marie O'Brien

      This is appalling!! Have these people nothing better to do to justify their salaries?? This is really taking political correctness to ludicrous extremes! Kids are tougher than people think and they will meet toughness in the world outside, so surely school would be the best place to learn about these things? This censorship has very bad connotations …..dictatorships..unable to make up their own minds….being controlled…being told what to think! For heavens’ sake……… get a life!! Maybe more to the point….let the kids get a life!

    • Ian MacLeod

      This was not initiated by any sort of “educator”. This is someone who was appointed as a sinecure to a post he’s totally unqualified for who is trying to justify his paycheck. I hope. If he were to succeed in packing the students in psychological cotton batting the schools would turn out hothouse children who are totally ignorant of almost all aspects of life! They’d expect to be protected from any sort of harshness or pain, and anything that slid through the system would be traumatic. Schools are there to TEACH. Removing giant chunks of the language in an attempt to protect children from the realities (and fantasies) they describe can only leave children far more vulnerable than they would have been. Children are naturally adaptable – it’s a powerful survival trait – unless someone sabotages it. Removing the words from the language cannot remove the near-certainty that those children will encounter the realities somewhere along the line. What are they to do when they don’t even have a word for what they see?

      This is a pitiful attempt to justify an unqualified having a position he shouldn’t have at best, and a dangerous dose of ignorance for children who need to learn all they can about the life they face in the safer environment of the schools at worst. Anyone dim enough to back this, nevermind come up with it, needs to be doing something else. I’d suggest putting a broom in their hands!

    • Jake Svendsen

      And these people need to realize that all these subjects are real life issues. Students should be taught these things. Sheltering them will make them awkward and unfit to enter the world as we know it. They should teach more of these things in classrooms instead of chemistry and Algebra.

    • Jocelyn Wills

      Thank you, Laurie Lou. I could not have said it better myself.

    • Linda

      AMEN!! You are sooo right LaurieLou!


    First, I’m a high school teacher here in NYC since 1985. As much as I love what I do and working with our students, it is insanity like that that makes me can’t wait for June 2017 to roll around- I’ll be 55 and able to retire from this stupid system.

    I work in a great school with awesome students and some of the best teachers and administrators around. But once you go beyond them, once you go above the Principal, the DOE becomes fantasyland. They have no clue what goes on in schools. The higher you go, the more stupid things get, and this list is just proof of that.

    Even forgetting its utter stupidity and the total impossibility of enforcing it, don’t these people at Tweed have better things to do? Quitting might be one of them. For most of them, (many who have never taught a day in their lives), it would be their greatest gift to education.

    • Sarah Marlowe

      I, too, work for the NYCDOE as a teacher.

      Good for you that you work with great administrators. Many of us are not so blessed, and right now, I’m sure that those that follow the NYCDOE “directives” from Tweed are scrambling, right now, to figure out how to implement these “suggestions” without questioning them.

      Sounds like the beginning of the end of a true education in the NYC public schools for countless students. Though I don’t have they years in the system to retire as you will be doing, I’m looking to bail from this stupid system, too.

    • LoveTeachers

      Couldn’t agree more…from a fellow veteran teacher.

    • gerry

      How many of you teachers voted for Obama? Maybe it is time to vote intelligently for the candidate who promise to ELIMINATE the Dept of Education. It is NOT a Federal Gov issue for education, that is the state and local to control what they want their children to learn. When you vote in a Communist Muslim, you get that ideology and soon the sole dictatorship. Vote in November for Freedom Restored. Clean out all incumbents in DC, and vote for the person who will abolish the DOE.

      • http://bluescat48.wordpress.com bluescat48

        Communist Muslim? That is an oxymoron.Communists are radical left-wingers, Muslims and the other 2 Abrahamic religious groups, Judaism & Christianity are right-wing.

      • johnnybfitt

        Boy , this comment’s as stupid as the original article ….you’re clueless as to how government really works , it’s a conservative ideology that seeks to deny people the use of words that demonstrate knowledge and creativity and force them to conform but limiting choices of expression ….What should I have expected from someone who would call the LEADER of the free world a Communist Muslim ,

      • T. Servo

        The NEW YORK CITY Dept of Education created this regulation. In case you are not aware, New York City is a city, not the federal government.

        • RandyK

          apparently gerry did not go to school long enough to understand the difference between city and federal governments.

          I would like to see GOP, santorum, Mitt and Gingrich added to the list because these offend thoughtful people.

      • BlueCheese

        This problem has been here far longer than Obama. Your unfounded and remarks about his choice of religion are just that. This issue has been growing for a long time, as many of the rich players of society of both sides of the government, (key word is rich) don’t want people able to make decisions on their own. The founding blocks of this country were directly related to FREEDOM, not censorship, and dictatorship, which lately, almost every law is setting in place, laws mind you that are passed by either side of the government. The problem isn’t Obama, the problem is people loving money and power more than people.

    • TexAnne

      New assignment for kids: How many of the banned words can you use properly while incorporating into an essay?

      • Gregg


      • chris

        LOL!!!……Great reply to this stupidity TexAnne, you are so right. I would hate to grade those essay’s. Stuff like this just make the adults of our future even dumber and more ignorant then they already are. They are going to grow up to be just as dumb and stupid as the person/persons whom came up with this idea.

        • Valerie

          I hope you never grade anyone’s “essay’s.” Until you learn the difference between plural and possessive.

        • Jay$m00ve

          True that. This may be the most worst idea that i ever heard. Whats wrong with the world

      • RandyK

        I love it

    • owilde1

      Perfectly stated.

    • Gloria Gifford

      As a graduate of schools in NYC, I am in shock. You are so right. Every word on this list is in books, literature, newspapers, it is our culture, our world and they are banning these words?????????? Ill.

    • Michael

      For reasons no one seems able to explain, education is the only profession where people with little or no experience in the field are put in charge. Sorry, that seems to be happening in our health care system too.

      Einstein said it best: The only things that are infinite are the universe and human stupidity. And I’m not sure about the universe.

      Current college instructor. Appalled at the ignorance of many of today’s college students. After seeing this, still appalled but not surprised. I have found the source!

    • Brendan

      You are part of the problem. You will accept whatever garbage they place on these students so you can collect your precious pension.

      • Mick

        Hey Brendan, you don’t seem to realize what public servants are supposed to do. That is, serve the governments that pay them. If school teachers boldly went it alone they’d promptly find themselves in breach of their contracts.

        As for being part of the problem, he’s one of those teachers out there that is forced to deal with this BS and try to work around it, not you! So until you’ve spent a day in his shoes get back in your box and restrict your pearls of wisdom to topics you actually know something about!

      • http://gryall.wordpress.com gryall

        Easy for you to say. He/she is 5 years from retirement, and you’d have her change careers at this point in her life over a disagreement in philosophy with her employer? Do you really think she doesn’t already do everything in her power to give her students the best education she can despite the hoops her employer presents to her and her students, and that unfortunately, she’s essentially powerless when it comes to rocking the boat in any way?

        That note was evidence enough for me that Dinosaur is a conscientious, responsible teacher. It’s sad that your prejudices against teachers would lead you to conclude otherwise.

      • Nicholas Dollak

        “Dinosaur” is hardly part of the problem. (S)he recognizes that the problem exists and admits it. If you were in his/her shoes, you’d find there’s little you can actually do without jeopardizing your job. Administrators have revoked teachers’ pensions to pad their own pockets. This should not be legal – but I’ve found that the law is more often on the side of the criminal, not the victim. And the charismatic teacher who bucks the system is a creature that exists only in the movies, or the unemployment line. And while a few insightful students might realize what happened, the students as a whole will not rally to anyone’s defense.

  • Sharon

    . They should ban reference to money because some people don’t have any. They should ban cars and airplanes because a lot of people can’t afford them. They should ban the words “he” and “she” because some people some consider it sexist.They should ban reference to clothing because nudists may be offended. They should ban books because they offend trees.They should ban computers and electricity because eelectricity is harmful tot the environment. They should ban English because it may offend immigrants.

    • Andy

      a big compliment to Sharon!!! That’s exactly what I think about it…

    • AreYouKidNMe

      Sharon, You are correct; in fact they should ban testing because it offends those who are against grades; and they should ban education because it offends the illiterate; and they should ban tests (hey, I already said that one…The slippery slope just got too slippery….Ban everything. Period. But perhaps,keep the words “ludicrous” and “absurd” on the permissible word list….in addition to “backwards” and “disturbing”

      • AreYouKidNMe

        Cigarettes — the NYC Dept of Health is bombarding the subway andInternet with ads about them causing cancer (another proposed banned word)
        Junk food –I guess that would include “pink slime” also known as “ammonia treated beef” that the DOE refuses to pull from the citywide school lunch menu although McDonald’s (that arbiter of fine cuisine), has already done so…after the whistleblower report
        April Fool’s Day is coming up in about a week…I think that Mr. Walcott and his boss the Honorable Mr. Bloomberg are a week early…surely they can’t be serious…This is starting to make the TSA searches of octogenarian body cavities seem not that “stupid”…I hope I did not offend anyone mentioned in this response…I think that the “Dennis and Mikey Show” will do very well on the air…Look out Leno and Letterman, Dennis and Mikey are a TRUE RIOT (not the police baton kind (no offense to Commissioner Kelly intended)

    • http://emberstorm1.wordpress.com emberstorm1

      Just ban it all! Good grief they need to be LEARNING these things. I ho[e those in charge change their minds because it makes NO sensen

    • http://emberstorm1.wordpress.com emberstorm1

      Just ban it all! Good grief they need to be LEARNING these things. I ho[e those in charge change their minds because it makes NO sense.

    • http://emberstorm1.wordpress.com emberstorm1

      No kidding! Just ban then all an d they will learn nothung. geez They seed to LEARN these words…

    • Timothy

      Amen To that and if any of these words are used by the children strict punishment should be put in place. like maybe they should go to work camps and their parents should be put in walled facilities for their rude and unethical behavior. Wow when did I move to North Korea

    • mara

      I have a friend who has a lot of trouble with math – it would probably be a good idea to ban math so as not to harm her self-esteem.

  • Bobby V

    Dennis Walcott offends me. Therefore, I want him removed

    • Karimack

      Thank you Bobby V. couldn’t have said it better myself.

    • Odysseus

      OH YES!

    • Ivy


    • tpp

      Exactly my thoughts!

      My oldest is entering the NYC school system, and this is just…weird. Almost makes me want to move to a country where this sort of horse manure is not standard practice.

      • Teacher

        Top-don’t let this sour you on NYC schools. Good teachers, administrators, and schools are good despite the DOE. Caring educators work hard in NYC to give our children the best possible chance at a good education. Have been doing this for 27 years and will continue to do so long after Walcott is gone.

  • Doug

    Ebonics… coming to a school near you..

    • jasonaquest

      I don’t think you understood this article.

    • Robert Rocker

      WTF? Did you read past the headline? (Did you read the headline?)

  • A-nony-mouse

    Why not ban the dictionary while we’re at it? Certainly wouldn’t want these children to get an education now would we? Welcome to your future politicians and leaders of industry! Oh, wait. We can’t talk about either, can we?

    Thumbs Up! *sarcasm*

    • Holytape

      You better not use pictograms either, because graphic representation of objects offends me.

  • Sharon

    Maybe we should just stop teaching science and current events altogether.
    We wouldn’t want to offend anyone!

  • miek

    I would like to think that some of the educators that developed this list have read Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451. There is a real fear in the world of that the censorship of ideas will create a desensitized youth who prey on the weak and old for a form of fun because there is not other creative (or intellectual) alternative in society. However, in a cruel (sorry for the use of a possibly banned word here) twist of irony, many of those same educators have probably never read the novel (Bradbury’s works are constantly censored) or have forgotten the lessons learned in a simple Science Fiction novel written for younger readers. Are we going to start burning books soon? When that starts, are people far behind?

  • teach

    What words are left for the children to learn about in a PC city gone mad? Mr. W. should add the word EDUCATION to his word list because it has already been banned from his list of words that he understands!!! UNBELIEVABLE!

  • Mer

    I don’t see IDIOT on the list. If Walcott thinks these word affect our children, he obviously has not been in a classroom lately. We have BIGGER things to worry about.

  • PT

    How stupid is this!!! What will be next?????

  • Mikeybklyn

    Jimmy and Susie just crapped their pants. I see the logic….

  • alan

    Me thinks one needs just enough education to run the machines and nothing else. This has to be the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard in my 68 years.

    • Mikeybklyn


  • Shofar

    Seinfeld had the “Soup Nazi” and now the DOE has the “Word Nazis”. Enough already with the micromanagement of what is spoken that “might be offensive”. I believe that MOST of the parents of children that HAVE to send them to public schools, are QUITE offended at the “factories” that public schools have become, and the easy and unwilling little audience they have for the propaganda that’s being spewed forth through ALL the grade levels. Maybe it’s time for parents to make the sacrifices necessary to HOME SCHOOL their children and spare them any further indignities that unfortunately come with sending their little darlings to the NWO schools of thought.

    • Kara

      We did!! It was not until I actually TAUGHT in a public school that I gave up all faith in the public school system. It is a sacrifice, but in our minds, completely worth it!

  • Tony P

    They have to be kidding!!!! With everything that happens and is heard on the streets in NY neighborhoods every hour of every day the school hierarchy is concerned that 50 words could traumatizing our kids ——-wake up people this gobbledygook your preaching should be returned to your politically correct play book. Teach our kids, stop playing with their minds !!!!!!

  • greeneyes

    I think that educators need education in language arts. I don’t believe teachers, administrators, and educators are demonstrating another example of in-competencies with education.

  • Living in a plastic bubble

    Ha ha ha… This is a joke right? No one with an I.Q. Of 40 or above could come up with this! I am sure more idiots will jump on the bandwagon.

    • Shofar

      Rest assured the reason behind this is alot larger and more diabolical than you’re able to see at this time…..

  • Living in a plastic bubble

    Ha ha ha… This is a joke right? No one with an I.Q. Of 40 or above could come up with this!

  • Andy

    This is why the schools are so bad here – the DOE is worried about offending someone instead of educating the kids. Looks like this head of the DOE is no better than any of the past ones.
    To the woman who covered the story @6:15, evolution hasn’t been called a “theory” in about 20 years.

    • Shofar

      That may be so….yet in the TRUE Scientific community it is quite clearly understood to be described as “Charles Darwin’s Theory of Evolution”. It IS a “theory”….that’s what it has ALWAYS been…and THAT is a SCIENTIFIC FACT! Just ask anyone at the Smithsonian who is honest and credible.

      • Paul Hartzer

        Actually, there’s really such thing as a “scientific fact” in contrast to a “scientific theory”. Even the theory that the scientific method itself is reliable could be argued to be a theory; if a scientist fully applied the scientific method to data and got contradictory results, one potentiality is that the method itself is flawed in some way.

        All that said, the only reason why those scientists who continue to refer to evolution as a theory and not a fact is because they’re being honest to their own scientific ethics. As others have pointed out, “theory” in terms of science is much closer to what non-scientists call “fact” than to what non-scientists call “theory”. Intelligent Design is not a generally valid “scientific theory” because it has a component that can’t be made subject to the scientific method; evolution, on the other hand, has been made subject to the scientific method, and has generally succeeded (while being tweaked where it’s faced problems).

      • William Meikle

        Gravity is just a theory too. Care to jump off a building to test it?

      • Perdurabo0

        The scientific definition of theory is not the same as the common use of the word. A scientific theory is a VERIFIED hypothesis.

        • Yashmak

          Well said. Science, at least, acknowledges that nothing is EVER proven beyond a shadow of a doubt. It’s that very open-endedness that allows for future discovery and any change that discovery might bring.

  • The Realist

    Maybe they should also ban words like STANDARDIZED TEST and HOMEWORK and QUIZ and GRADES and REPORT CARD and TEACHER and SCHOOL. Would that help kids to “feel better”?

    The whole point of school is to prepare children for the REAL WORLD. Why is it now so essential to defeat that purpose by “protecting” children from the REAL WORLD?

    • cityJ

      oh so correct. take all of the reality out of school. real life does not occur within school walls.

    • Chris Owens

      I’m with you, Realist! Let’s identify 50 standardized tests that should be banned … and leave the words alone!

      • http://gryall.wordpress.com gryall

        Good call. The real culprit here is standardized testing. Removing ALL the content from them, for goodness sake, would still leave them as problematic things that should be done away with.

        • TLM

          Standardized tests are only useful if you have standardized students. Has anyone asked if these words were to be removed from standardized MATH tests? If not, how about removing ugly concepts like “plus”, “minus” and “divided by”? Everything could be “equals”!

  • Natalie

    I like how I keep trying to comment and none of my comments have gotten through. ಠ_ಠ

  • Emma

    That headline had me thinking about a whole set of different words than what were on that list. Does context count for nothing?

    I actually can see how a kid can get distracted by some short essays. In particular, kids who have trouble concentrating or those who are embarrassed by the circumstances of their lives. The solution is to teach them coping skills, not to try and sanitize the world. Growing and learning is not guaranteed to be pain free.

  • Public Education is worthless

    How much are we going to dumb down our kids.People need to understand all kids are not on same level playing field some study hard and get great results and most just show up and expect to pass.This is why private schools are far and above any public school.Better off home schooling.

    • Shofar

      I concur about the home schooling, and about the deliberate goal to “dumb-down” our children. There is no REAL effort being made on the part of public schools and the DOE to challenge our children to be THINKERS! The “system” needs and wants FOLLOWERS not thinkers. It needs mindless over exposed, over excess-ed, and severely desensitized individuals making up the population, and they need them at an early age. Worst kind of CHILD ABUSE ever.

  • Karen

    Stop the madness now! These words (and probably many others) were on the standardized tests I took in the early 60s. Who knows, they were probably on the Regents exams too. What’s next – no trips to the natural history museum or they have to cover up the dinosaur exhibit between the hours of 9-5. Don’t even think about putting a cease & desist order on the Hallmark greeting card people. Mr. Walcott, you have a far more intense problem with the number of people hauled off t jail. If you remove them from NYC’s exam how is that “standardized?”

  • Rich

    Are you kidding me????????? So lets just not say a whole slew of words because it may offend someone??????????????????? ABSURD!!!!!!! People (kids included) need to learn what freedom of speech is about, it is about good speech and not so good speech.. Guess what, there are gonna times in your life when you are going to be subject to both. To take out the words reffering to poverty because it may offend someone??? How did anyone who is Rich and didnt start out that way make it?? They made it because they new they were poor and wanted a better life!!!!!!! Halloween reffers to paganism REALLY??? I think kids are more concerned with getting dressed up and trick or treating!!!! This is just unreal. we are raising a whole group of kids to be EXTREMELY SENSITIVE!!!!!!!!!! Other countrires are gonna (if not already) walk all over us!!! Just unreal!!!

  • all american

    Don’t forget HOODIE!

  • The Good Priest

    Loser, Corruption, Fraud, Joke, Pathetic, Bought & Paid-For; are all words that shouldn’t be on the list because they suggest locally elected politicians.

    • IAmGladIDidNotTeachForDOE


  • all american

    B. S.

  • all american

    Fire them all.
    This is idiotic.
    This is why budgets won’t stretch. Hundreds of salaries removing words like dinosaurs from school!!! Are you people NUTS! Every museum and university on the planet has dinosaur skeletons out the hoo-ha! They were REAL. They preceded us. We can PROVE it…unlike the bible.

  • IAmGladIDidNotTeachForDOE

    The word “dinosaur” suggests evolution!! LOL!!! Dinosaurs lived on earth for 160 million years! Compared to the 2.5 million years man has been on earth. This is beyond stupid.

  • Dot CT

    It’s Bad enough some school systems are coaching srudents before taking
    “Standardized Tests” now they want to customize the test. Where did the
    “Standard” part of the test go? I’m not a fan of the Standardized Test but if the state requires them at least keep the testing standard & not customized. Such foolishness! To everyone Have A Very Merry UnBirthday or is that too Politically Incorrect? Oh Well!

  • Jenny

    Education is suppose to prepare children for the real world. These words exist, have existed and will continue to exist. Will they remove Dinosaurs from the animal world next? Will children no longer be allowed to study dinosaurs? We are a diverse community. It is important that the children learn as much as they can about our world, each other, and other people. These educators need to stop being so narrow minded!

  • miss kriss

    Can’t we teach acceptance and understanding of all different religions and social practices and without advocating one position over another? This censorship seems a little 1955 to me? How will our children know how to cope in the real world when someone has a different perspective?

    • Sharron

      Thank you Miss Kriss. In my view we are teaching intolerance, lack of acceptance of others . Maybe we’ll have to learn to learn to communicate in some “non’threatening, non-understanding” fashion–may be could just grunt at each other.

  • Keith

    Wow… considering there are about 1,000,000 words in the English language, this seems like a stupid precedent to make. Every single word in the language could be seen as offensive depending on time, place, person, situation and circumstances. I could have just gotten dumped and be upset and then the innocuous word ‘love’ is now offensive to me. These idiots should all be fired – yet they head our education system.

  • Natalie

    UGH! Give me a break! I wish the government would stop trying to tell everyone we’re the same. We’re NOT! We’re ALL DIFFERENT! The more kids are sheltered from things from other cultures, the more ignorant they will become of those other cultures, and when those kids are all grown up, subtle propaganda will create negative connotations with these other cultures. The kids won’t know that what they’re being told is complete bullshit, so they’ll go along with it, and BOOM! Another World War. Lots of lovely profit for the Federal Reserve families.

    Fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate, hate leads to the Dark Side. What comes before Fear? Ignorance.

  • Pat

    The word Halloween upsets me because I didn’t get enough candy as a child……

  • http://daksden.wordpress.com dakotahgeo

    ROFLMBO!!! This country gets funnier and funnier by the minute! First it is a ban on hugging, now words like lke dinosaur and Halloween! The USA is imploding, bit by bit, every second. We may not even make it to November 6th. LOLOL.

    • Dumbfounded

      And by imploding, we’ll make the Mayan prophesy for 2012 come true. :)

  • Jut

    The word Dinosaur does not suggest evolution. That’s like saying the word Mammals suggest evolution or the words Avian, Aquatic invertebrates, or cell membrane. Give me a minute and I’ll have another 50 words you can add to that list.

  • jag


  • bobbyshades

    Are Walcott and Idiot two of the banned words?

  • Bobo

    These incompetent fools are teaching our kids. But the parents don’t care enough to make a stand.

    • Karimack

      These imcompetent fools, as you so eloquently put it, are NOT the ones in the classrooms.

  • bobbyshades

    Is Idiot one of the banned words?

    • petmusings

      yeah, exactly!! and “hate” and “Love” and “Stupid” and ANY sentence that ends with a ?

      That’s IT!! Now it’s going to be Occupy freaking NYDOE!!!

  • lisa

    The idiocy of this offends me

  • how about a list of the 50 words


  • Dan Te

    If it offends some people then they should remove it.

  • alex

    This is really sad. The more we try to “shelter” kids from every little thing that could possibly be upsetting or controversial, the less prepared for the real world they’ll be. I have happy childhood memories of learning about dinosaurs and collecting Halloween candy. I feel sorry for kids growing up in our brave new sanitized world.

  • The Facts

    This is a dumb decision by politician/bureaucrats afraid of their own shadows. Disgraceful.

  • jack

    Walcott needs to add one word to his job….”resign”…. obviously an overpaid school positon with way too much time on his hands. Four words come to mind when I listen to people like him….”get a life pal!”

  • susan

    oh my word!! (no pun intended)..children eventually have to grow up and cannot live in a total bubble of protection all their lives..this is the most ridiculous thing i have heard in a while..whats next,, burning books because they are historically correct? why not educate (which is what these people are supposed to be doing)children on life,diversitty,history,and tradtions or days such as halloween ,or more importantly, where and why these things originated..i guess none of these so called “educators” have visited a museum with intact dinosaur bones either….

  • Ant928

    What do I think? Give me a f*cking BREAK!! It’s a WORD!!! Who care what it’s “connotation” is…we’re just trying to see if the student can identify it!

    Sheesh! And I thought the cast of “Jersey Shore” were stupid…they obviously benefited frmo an NYC education!

    • boba

      no bodily function words? how is a kid taking a test supposed to ask to go to the john? i wouldn’t want to be sitting behind him trying to take a test.

1 2 3 10
blog comments powered by Disqus
Giving Tuesday
Charles Osgood Event

Listen Live