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.
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.
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)
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
In-depth discussions of sports that require prior knowledge
Loss of employment
Occult topics (i.e. fortune-telling)
Religious holidays and festivals (including but not limited to Christmas, Yom Kippur, and Ramadan)
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.
Words fail me.....