The practice of blessing someone who sneezes dates back to at least 77 AD. However, it is far older than most specific explanations can account. Some have offered an explanation suggesting that people once held the folk belief that a person’s soul could be thrown from their body when they sneezed. That sneezing opened the body to invasion by the Devil or evil spirits or that sneezing was the body’s effort to force out an invading evil presence. In these cases, God bless you or bless you was/is used as a sort of shield against evil. The Irish Folk Story, “Master and Man,” describes some people may have thought that the heart stops beating during a sneeze and that the phrase “God Bless You” encourages the heart to continue beating. In some cultures, sneezing is seen as a sign of good fortune or God’s beneficence. Many clergy, when blessing their congregants individually or corporately, use the phrase “God bless you.” Don’t we bless America, when we say “God Bless America.”
After listening to this story about an incident in a classroom between a student and the teacher, it seems our teachers have gone beyond common sense to control the classroom. Have you every blessed someone for a good deed they have performed, when they have endured a hardship, suffered, and in the end people extend their blessings? My family was raised to perform this gesture when someone sneezed.
Well, it seems that a young girl in Dyer County, Tennessee, was suspended for standing up for her religious beliefs. Her teacher in the keyboarding class had published words that were banned in the classroom. These words were: bless you, dump, stupid, my bad, and hang out. Now I take exception with the “bless you.” I would have been sent out of the classroom the first day because in my home “bless you” is said each time someone sneezes – it is an automatic response. The young girl was suspended because, “the school would have us believe that a child telling a classmate “bless you” after a sneeze somehow caused a classroom commotion so severe it warranted a punishment? It is a good thing she didn’t offer her classmate a tissue.” So she was suspended. The teacher said, ” that we’re not going to have godly speaking in her class” and that’s when the student replied she had a constitutional right to speak. So what planet is this teacher from? She was then sent to the assistant principal and he was even more comforting by replying, “If I didn’t want to respect my teacher’s rules then maybe my pastor should teach me because my freedom of speech and religion does not work at the school.” On Tuesday, a school official tried to convince the public this young lady was a trouble-maker. Isn’t that always the answer when, “stupid is as stupid does!” This teacher should re-read her “Code of Ethics” of the National Education Association which reads:
Commitment to the Student
The educator strives to help each student realize his or her potential as a worthy and effective member of society. The educator therefore works to stimulate the spirit of inquiry, the acquisition of knowledge and understanding, and the thoughtful formulation of worthy goals.
In fulfillment of the obligation to the student, the educator –
1. Shall not unreasonably restrain the student from independent action in the pursuit of learning.
2. Shall not unreasonably deny the student’s access to varying points of view.
3. Shall not deliberately suppress or distort subject matter relevant to the student’s progress.
4. Shall make reasonable effort to protect the student from conditions harmful to learning or to health and safety.
5. Shall not intentionally expose the student to embarrassment or disparagement.
6. Shall not on the basis of race, color, creed, sex, national origin, marital status, political or religious beliefs, family, social or cultural background, or sexual orientation, unfairly –
a. Exclude any student from participation in any program; b. Deny benefits to any student; c. Grant any advantage to any student.
7. Shall not use professional relationships with students for private advantage.
8. Shall not disclose information about students obtained in the course of professional service unless disclosure serves a compelling professional purpose or is required by law.
Do you think any of these commitments have been violated? Why didn’t the teacher wait till the class was over and call her aside and reprimand her with a warning?