Georgia professor's ban on post-sneeze 'bless you' draws notice

Thursday, Aug 28, 2014 4:53 AM
Last updated 4:56 AM
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BRUNSWICK, Ga. --  A College of Coastal Georgia professor had warned students he would lower the grades of students who say “Bless you’’ after someone sneezes during class, a spokesman for the college confirmed Wednesday.

But the ban on “Bless you” was intended to stop class disruptions and is not a curb on freedom of speech or religion or any reflection of the professor’s religious or political philosophy, the spokesman said.

“The professor’s intent was to explain disruptive behavior was not allowed in the classroom,” according to a statement the college issued late Wednesday, which also labeled the prohibition on “Bless you” as an example of such behavior.

“No student has been disciplined or removed from class based on that example,” which has since been removed, the college said.

Before its removal, however, classroom rule No. 6 in chemistry professor Leon Gardner’s syllabus had served up plenty of fodder for the Drudge Report, Rush Limbaugh and other conservative commentators.

The Drudge Report cites the “Behavioral Deduction” section of Gardner’s syllabus where he warns of the time-honored response to a sneeze.

“Saying ‘bless you.’ We are taught that it is polite to say ‘bless you’ when someone sneezes. However, if you say this while I am talking, it is NOT polite, it is very rude!” the syllabus says.

The college said Gardner cited other examples that students should follow such as arriving for class on time and turning off cellphones.

Disruptive behavior can get a student’s grade docked by 15 percent with the “Bless you” shout out bringing an immediate 1 percent deduction, the Drudge Report says.

Walter L. Stafford of Pensacola, who spent time as a high school principal during his 39 years in education, said he heard about Gardner’s rule and thought he had crossed a line.

“I can understand classroom discipline,” Stafford told the Times-Union, “but these are obviously adults. These aren’t squirrelly ninth-graders.”

Gardner probably shouldn’t haven’t written down his rules because now those have been sent out to be parsed line-by-line by pundits, commentators and students for their sensitivity and political correctness, Stafford said.

Gardner should have simply told his classes their production and actions in class, including disruptive behavior, would affect their grades and moved on from there, Stafford said.

Reach Terry Dickson: (912) 264-0405

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Dixieman
14942
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Dixieman 08/28/14 - 06:48 am
24
9
Oh-kay...

I suggest that all students in his class shout out "Obama!" if someone sneezes. Then this professor wouldn't dare penalize them. Because that would be racist.
Don't you just love liberals?

Truth Matters
6745
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Truth Matters 08/28/14 - 06:52 am
9
16
It is refreshing to know the

It is refreshing to know the real back story of this so-called ban on saying "Bless You."

Even with adult students there is a such thing as "contagious behavior" in the classroom. One person sneezes and then two more do likewise. In a short while you can have a whole class saying "bless you."

When working with adults students there maybe a minority of students who will challenge the instructor if certain things were not clearly delineated in the course syllabus. The instructor then has to strike a balance between wording that can withstand challenges when a pass/fail grade is at stake. That was good advice that the professor should give examples orally and not in writing. And hope that college students are mature enough to know that those examples are not all inclusive.

Bottom line, if the professor thinks a behavior in his class is disruptive, it's disruptive. That is my bias.

OJP
6592
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OJP 08/28/14 - 07:26 am
11
15
@Dixieman

Did you even read the article? The ban had nothing to do with politics, religion, or ideology. It was simply a misguided attempt to avoid unnecessary disruption.

Bizkit
31254
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Bizkit 08/28/14 - 07:32 am
13
2
I think it is just a

I think it is just a frustrated professor because students now have carte blanche using cell phones in class, coming to class late and then walking in and out of class, disruptive behaviors and yes these supposed adults do act like 9th graders at time. It use to be professors had educational freedom (it is getting more like undergrad and following a lesson plan) and could lock you out of class if late, reprimand you for behaviors-those days are gone=students have rights. Then professors have to respect students too and appreciate what they have to bring to the table-which in my opinion is nothing that's why they are in school and were taking my class. Now they don't have to show respect for me as professor is the caveat.

nocnoc
42432
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nocnoc 08/28/14 - 07:45 am
16
7
They teach freedom of speech then

then they threaten a CHRISTIAN for using Religious courtesy.

Sounds like the Prof is bucking for some national fame and speaking $$$$ or he has really made a PC faux pas.

Please don't let him be tenured.

bright idea
814
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bright idea 08/28/14 - 07:43 am
10
5
Don't talk while I'm talking PLEASE

should be enough but that plea would have largely been ignored. The professor was trying to be specific and his example became a PC talking point. Taking points off the grade is a bigger issue in my opinion but of course he has few options to control disruptions.

southern2
6118
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southern2 08/28/14 - 07:49 am
16
6
I could understand getting

I could understand getting away with this ban in NYC or LA but Brunswick, GA?

Maybe the sensitive Mr. Gardner should choose another profession.

Bizkit
31254
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Bizkit 08/28/14 - 08:06 am
15
2
The syllabus is now

The syllabus is now considered a legal document so you need to clear and specific-but I think this dude picked a poor example.

Little Lamb
45854
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Little Lamb 08/28/14 - 08:22 am
17
4
Disruption?

I don't buy the notion that a person saying “Bless you” immediately after a sneeze is disruptive. Let's think for a minute. The sneeze has already disrupted the class; and a quick “bless you” does not add any meaningful disruption.

mosovich
799
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mosovich 08/28/14 - 08:22 am
8
12
I think..

I think you guys need to get a life.. Obviously just another way for AC to cause more confrontation just like all the other news outlets do.. You read the article in a huff and then realize it's no big deal.. Of course though many make it a big deal.. CNN, FOX, they all do it.. Problem is most don't read the article, will get in their car and go down and protest when there's nothing to protest about..

my.voice
4801
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my.voice 08/28/14 - 08:40 am
11
4
Then should "Screw

Then shout "Screw You"............ or worse.........

BamaMan
2348
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BamaMan 08/28/14 - 09:05 am
12
4
I'm choking...

...trying to swallow that flimsy excuse. Heaven (yes I said Heaven) forbid being nice! That's ALL it is, is being considerate. Dixieman, I'm with you.

historylover
8447
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historylover 08/28/14 - 09:08 am
6
12
Big to do over absolutely nothing!

I happen to be an adult and I know better than to interrupt a speaker (including but not limited to Preachers, teachers, bosses, etc.) when they are speaking. Of course bless you in this capacity has not one thing to do with Christianity!!!! It's just something we were all taught by our parents to do as a common courtesy. It is not necessary and I don't know about any of you, but I don't scream it out in Church either! This professor is correct.

my.voice - you should be ashamed of yourself.

historylover
8447
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historylover 08/28/14 - 09:15 am
4
12
The origin of "God bless you" after sneezing.

The phrase "God bless you" is attributed to Pope Gregory the Great, who uttered it in the sixth century during a bubonic plague epidemic (sneezing is an obvious symptom of one form of the plague).

http://people.howstuffworks.com/sneezing.htm

Since we no longer have the bubonic plague which is referenced here, I think our world will continue on without these words from the Catholic Church in the 14th century. Geez people!

Angela H
2779
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Angela H 08/28/14 - 09:29 am
15
6
One would have to be quite

One would have to be quite obtuse to believe that he is banning "bless you" simply because it is a disruption. As if a sneeze isn't disruptive.

IBeDogGone
3014
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IBeDogGone 08/28/14 - 09:45 am
11
2
Sneezing

Yes sneezing can be disruptive but it is a natural body function just like some other functions that do not smell so good, God forbid (yes I said God) someone turns up their nose or giggles and disrupts the professor. I attend many speaking sessions and have heard the speaker many times pause and say "bless you" when someone in the audience sneeze.

Dixieman
14942
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Dixieman 08/28/14 - 12:25 pm
16
5
I do read these articles carefully...

...before commenting. Very carefully.
If you think the religious content of the phrase "bless you" has nothing to do with the professor's ban, you need to get out the ol' dipstick and check your naive-o-meter level.

OJP
6592
Points
OJP 08/28/14 - 10:05 am
7
10
@Little Lamb

Well, a sneeze is involuntary. Saying "Bless you" afterwards is voluntary. But the ban was absurd - as are those trying to make this into some Marxist/socialist/communist/librul professor-run-amok issue.

OJP
6592
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OJP 08/28/14 - 10:03 am
5
13
@Dixieman

Based on your comment, it's more likely that you skimmed the article and then inferred a whole bunch of stuff based on your own political baggage.

There is nothing to indicate that it had anything to do with religion (as if saying "Bless you" after a sneeze has any religious meaning anymore anyways).

Angela H
2779
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Angela H 08/28/14 - 10:04 am
14
5
Check that dipstick.

Check that dipstick.

OJP
6592
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OJP 08/28/14 - 10:07 am
6
13
@Angela H

Lemme guess - you rage every year against the "War on Christmas", too.

b1
151
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b1 08/28/14 - 10:13 am
11
3
Pretty stupid

I'm not sure what the true meaning is from the professor but I will say this. whatever his meaning was, his choice was very poor! frustrated or not...use your brain professor!

Angela H
2779
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Angela H 08/28/14 - 10:19 am
10
6
Lemme guess..whenever a white

Lemme guess..whenever a white cop shoots a black person, it is because he his black?

myfather15
55706
Points
myfather15 08/28/14 - 10:33 am
12
6
Well, that settles it!!

Someone on the left said there is "Nothing to see here" and it has nothing to do with religion at all; so it must be!!

Yes, don't trust what your instinct tells you, just listen to them!! They will continue to tell you there is nothing going on, until it's way to late to stop what IS going on!!

War on Christmas?? Absolutely!! It is most definitely going on, every year!!

RMSHEFF
16001
Points
RMSHEFF 08/28/14 - 10:42 am
8
3
I can only wonder how many

I can only wonder how many times this "bless you"comment was actually used and just how disruptive it actually was. It seem that this may have been an attempt by the instructor to show that he or she was the judge and jury in his classroom. This is a complete lack of respect for the students who actually pay his salary. Why would he have not privately ask these students to reframe from using this comment if it were such a big disruption and if it continued he could use the threat of punishment. There are plenty of schools out there for these students to attend.

myfather15
55706
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myfather15 08/28/14 - 10:43 am
10
3
historylover

It doesn't matter whether "bless you" has any religious foundation, or has anything to do with religion at all.

Some people's hatred for anything Christian is so deep that any sentence with "Bless" in it, enrages them!! It's the perception that "Bless" is religious in nature and that's enough for some people!!

How long does it take to say "Bless you"? While I've never really made a habit of saying it (I sometimes do), it takes less than one second!!

" but I don't scream it out in Church either! This professor is correct."

Who SCREAMS it, in any venue? I've never heard a person scream the words in my life!! Is that just hyperbole to make it sound so much worse than what's actually happening?

This is such a ridiculous issue; it shouldn't be an issue!! But "Professors" like this guy are causing something to be an issue, that has been going on for 100's of years!!

And you will NEVER convince me this has nothing to do with religion!! I would be willing to bet an entire YEARS worth of my salary that this guy is either atheist or of another religion (Possibly Islam); and despises Christianity!!

But the fact is; in this Country you walking a thin line to come out an OPENLY denounce Christianity and admit this is about a hatred for Christianity. Especially for a professor or teacher; as there would be much backlash!! So, they do their attacks AS SATAN has taught them, subtly!! Where people don't even realize it's happening, saying; "This has nothing to do with religion". Yeah right!!

myfather15
55706
Points
myfather15 08/28/14 - 10:56 am
8
2
This is what I'm talking about with the deception of the left!!

They literally want you to look at something; lets say an elephant and believe it's a giraffe, simply because they TELL YOU it's a giraffe!!

They want you to look at George Washington and think he's Bin-Laden, and look at Stalin as George Washington!!

In other words; don't believe what you eyes are actually seeing, believe what we tell you to believe!!

There's no War on Christmas, that's entirely made up!! Meanwhile, pay no attention to all the employees of businesses who are being completely BANNED from mentioning Christmas. Pay no attention to the widespread campaign by City governments (large and small) to ban their employees from saying Merry Christmas, or calling the "Holiday Tree" a Christmas tree! Pay no attention to all the schools who are going on "Winter break" or having a "Holiday" play or musical, because they can't mention "Christ" mas!!

Let me ask a question; what "Winter Break" are they taking? Why does this "Winter break" coincide with Christmas? Why don't they take the winter break in say, February?

This list of examples could literally go on and on!! But pay no attention to them!! They're not actually happening!! Just listen to our "friends" on the left who say nothing is going on!!

AFjoe
2894
Points
AFjoe 08/28/14 - 11:06 am
9
1
Heard in Church

The church I attend there's a group in the back, that everytime the pastor says something they like or agree with....they shout Amen!

God Bless each and every poster before and after mine.

AFjoe
2894
Points
AFjoe 08/28/14 - 11:12 am
7
1
Angela H.

Your comment seems a little out of place. You may be interested in googleing Salt Lake City. Just happened..Blk cop shoot and kills white kid coming out of 7-11. Unarmed of course. Not in the national news and don't know why. (Yes I do, just sounds better to play dumb)

Angela H
2779
Points
Angela H 08/28/14 - 11:21 am
6
6
My comment is right on. The

My comment is right on. The very same people who say that just has nothing to do with religion will scream that cops are shooting people just because they are black.

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