Students Talk About Anti-Swearing Campaign
How the School Felt Before and After the Campaign Started
Kids were running around in the hallways, yelling and swearing at the same time - during lunch also - but you don't hear that talk anymore, says Megan Sanchez about the effects of the anti-swearing campaign at her school, Bremerton High School (BHS) in Bremerton, Washington.
The campaign she's talking about, Dare Not To Swear, is the brainchild of BHS teacher Madonna Hanna and the students in her Advanced Fashion Marketing class. It all started with a survey asking the community - parents, teachers, and students - what improvements they would like to see in the school. Two issues emerged: attendance and swearing. Hanna and her students decided to tackle the swearing problem.
Sanchez, a senior and a student in Hanna's class, didn't always think Dare Not To Swear would work: "At our school, a lot of the teenagers swear a lot. They’re accustomed to it. It's their habit. So I just didn't think it would work. People don't like change, and for some people, not swearing is a big change in their life."
"I thought the campaign was going to backfire," says classmate Andrew Ramirez. 'I thought everybody was going to say, ‘Forget that.' And start swearing more, but it actually had the opposite effect."
Ramirez thinks the campaign has "brought down the level" of a lot of things in the school. "There aren't as many fights," he says, or "as many people in the hall causing problems."
"The school is not as loud anymore. It's more, kind of mellowed out," says Sanchez.
Fellow senior Krystal Morse thought there would be a rebellion. She imagined kids saying, "They're trying to take away my freedom of speech, individuality, etc." But surprisingly, she says, "The majority of kids—within the first few days—got all excited about it. They were wanting it. It was amazing to see that kind of thing around here."
Another positive effect of the campaign for Morse is that she feels safer. "It's intimidating to walk through the school and all you hear is profanity," she says. "It's not something that most kids would want to step into."
Morse estimates that ninety-five percent of the students are on board. "Some don't want to be a part of it," she says, "but when they swear, others say to them, 'Well you shouldn't be swearing anyway. It offends me.'"
Find out more about the Dare Not To Swear campaign in these two related articles: