In a perverse way, it makes sense that a health teacher would prefer that his students say Gesundheit —which in its most literal translation means “health-ness”—when someone sneezes. The one thing they can’t say inside the classroom of the delightfully named Steve Cuckovich is “God bless you.” If they do, they automatically lose 25 points off their grade.
Cuckovich, who teaches health at William C. Wood High School in Vacaville, California, claims that this standard rote response to a sneeze is disrespectful and disruptive.
You might expect that Cuckovich would be hiding under his desk now that his invidious policy has gone public. Quite the contrary, Cuckovich told reporters with Fresno station KFSN-TV:
When you sneezed in the old days, they thought you were dispelling evil spirits out of your body. So they were saying, ‘god bless you’ for getting rid of evil spirits. But today, I said what you‘re doing doesn’t really make any sense anymore.
But punishing students for saying it does make sense? Parents of students at the school believe Cuckovich is overstepping his authority. Some commentators also suspect the teacher is harboring a hidden agenda. Notes Billy Hallowell at The Blaze:
Interestingly, a Twitter account registered to a “Steve Cuckovich,” with a bio that reads, “High school teacher, father of three w/two grandkids and one on the way,” sent two tweets to leftist intellectual Cornel West’s Twitter account.
But whether it is the reference to God that Cuckovitch finds objectionable or the use of archaisms, he is well advised to stop saying goodbye when he parts company with someone. The expression, which dates to circa 1565, is a contraction of “God be with ye.”
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