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Some At NJ School Say Singling Out Girls For No Cursing Pledge Was Sexist

Archdiocese Spokesman: Boys Now 'Stepping Up,' Voluntarily Taking Pledge
Girls at Queen Of Peace High School take the no cursing pledge. (credit: CBS 2)

Girls at Queen Of Peace High School take the no cursing pledge. (credit: CBS 2)

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NORTH ARLINGTON, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — A pledge controversy has hit a New Jersey school.

Administrators at Queen of Peace High School in North Arlington apparently asked female students to take a pledge not to curse during the month of February.

But some question why the boys weren’t expected to take the same oath at the same time.

Rebecca Silva said she stood in protest Friday because she felt the school was singling out the girls and not asking male students to take the same oath.

“I didn’t say the pledge. I had to stand there, but I didn’t say the words,” Silva told CBS 2′s Christine Sloan. “They pulled all the girls from my homeroom and another homeroom I believe and they just took us to the library and expected [us] to take the pledge. We didn’t volunteer.”

Administrators at the school have now asked male students like Chaz Papi to join the no cursing crusade at the Catholic high school.

“I swore not to swear,” he said.

“At first I was confused, but as more and more men jumped on the bandwagon, I started to realize that girls were like the people who would push us off, start motivating us to do it,” Stewart Smith said.

CBS 2′s Sloan tried to get comment from school officials, but no one would talk.

However, Sloan was told the intention all along was to have the boys take the pledge as well.

“Personally, I am not to sure of that — the fact they expected the girls to go first, not all of us together — that’s sexist,” Silva said.

Others took issue with the depiction.

“I did take a pledge. I think the media is taking our intentions in a real wrong way,” Sophia Fernandez said.

“People swear all the time. It’s not just the girls, it’s the boys, too, and I think everybody should have been asked,” Alina Garcia added. “It’s not a big deal.”

A spokesman for the Newark Archdiocese said that the entire pledge idea came from one teacher.

“A teacher in one of the classes was working with a group of girls and the topic of foul language came up and this teacher suggested that this group might want to try taking on a project. But it was really only this one group of students, from this group of students late in the week last week, it began to grow,” said director of communications Jim Goodness.

“From that, more and more boys have been stepping up,” Goodness added.

Goodness said that on Monday the school held a “commitment ceremony” in which “students of both sexes…voluntarily agreed to take the pledge to cut swearing.”

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