Girls-Only 'No Swearing' Pledge Extended to Boys at NJ Catholic School

Tuesday, 05 Feb 2013 03:14 PM

By Michael Mullins

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A New Jersey Catholic high school has extended its no-swearing oath to its boys after being criticized for forcing the pledge only on girls.

The initiative was first launched last week by teacher Lori Flynn at Queen of Peace High School in North Arlington in an attempt to ensure that "ladies act like ladies."

Though male students weren't required to take the pledge, they were encouraged to abstain from cursing while in the company of female students, according to Flynn.

After taking heat in the community for what some considered a sexist rule, many of the boys came to school on Monday and said they wanted to pledge too, prompting school administrators to extend the policy, the Bergen Record reported.

"Once the boys heard about it on Friday or Saturday, a lot of them said, 'We’d like to get in on it,'" said Jim Goodness, a spokesman for the Archdiocese of Newark, which oversees the school.

The district would not say how many boys took the pledge on Monday and refused to allow media in the auditorium, as happened on Friday when the first pledges were made.

"The primary role of the school is to educate and not to be a media location," Goodness said, adding that the media presence was becoming a "distraction" for students.

Though many of the boys who talked to reporters outside the high school said they weren't participating, some proudly wore no-cursing pins featuring a red slash through a pair of pink lips.

"I felt I wanted to be part of something. I had felt left out," George Smith, 17, told the Record. He added that though eliminating all obscenities from his vocabulary would be a challenge, "promising yourself you want to do it is a first step."

According to Justin Esteves, 16, incidents of cursing in the hallways have noticeably decreased since students took pledges.

"We have to show we respect ourselves," Esteves said.

Several girls at Queen of Peace told the Record they were happy boys took pledges, too.

"The pledge should have been for everybody from the start," said Briana Dickinson, 16. "The fact the boys stepped up shows well for our school."

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