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Teens Shouldn't Be Allowed to Swear in Public

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Teens Shouldn't Be Allowed to Swear in Public

Posted by Jenny Erikson on October 12, 2012 at 7:31 AM

no profanity signLast summer the town of Middleborough, Massachusetts, voted to ban loud, public swearing by enforcing a 1968 law that would allow police to fine violators a $20 fine. Apparently, teenagers and other young people were deterring customers from businesses by being loud and obnoxious in public areas in front of stores.

This week it was reviewed by Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley, who said Tuesday that the original bylaw violates First Amendment free speech guarantees. She called for the town to take it off the books or amend it.

I’m an ardent defender of the Bill of Rights, so I can see where this is coming from, but I’m also a defender of public decency. I won’t try to pretend that my kids have never heard a curse word in our own home, but I can completely relate to avoiding areas filled with hooligans setting a bad example.

Yes, we have a right to say what we want. There’s an adage that says, “I may disagree with what you say, but I’ll defend your right to say it.” The thing is that that only goes so far, and I don’t think it should apply in this case.

Freedom of speech doesn’t cover yelling FIRE in a crowed movie theater when there is none, and it shouldn’t protect public nuisances. I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that teenagers shouting obscenities at each other in front of stores that might otherwise be frequented by paying customers are nuisances.

It’s sad that this is even a thing. Where are these children’s parents? Kids will be kids, and they’ll push the boundaries of propriety, sure, but come on people! Wouldn’t you be horrified to know your teenager was out shouting dirty words in the middle of town?

My kids have acted inappropriately in public before, and guess what? They were reprimanded for it. When I was a kid, I did what I thought I could get away with, and now my kids do the same. Why do these kids think they can get away with atrocious behavior like this?

Oh yeah. Because Martha Coakley says they can.

by on Oct. 12, 2012 at 10:51 AM
Replies (21-23):
by on Oct. 14, 2012 at 5:55 PM

I don't think we need more laws. Laws can't force people to respect each other. Parents and other family members were supposed to teach that at home. If they are loitering and causing traffic issues, vehicle or pedestrian, they need to be told to move along. If they don't the cops should be called.  Loitering infringes upon a business or property owners rights.

by on Oct. 14, 2012 at 9:22 PM

First of all i want to thank you for stepping up and bringing a mature conversation to the forefront, because this is happening all over, and i am not going to sit here and pretend it hasn't happened in my family, my brother and sil and nieces came in for a visit, the kids wanted to go to the mall, so i rode with him to get him back to my home, we stopped off at my other brothers house and picked up my niece and nephews mind you this brother of mine has 4 sons and 1 daughter., when we reached the mall, and the kids got out, one of the kids greeting my nephew shouted what's up Fred and then a slew of cuss words followed, now Fred knew better, he knew not in front of us, but my niece, i don;t know what she was thinking in fact she wasn't, she ran to this guy jumped up in his arms, and the guy had his hands on both cheeks of her behind! I couldn't believe what i was seeing, my visiting brother was looking down at something i tapped him, he looked up and the color drained from his face, he stepped out of his vehicle, and shouted excuse me, the guy looked up, he stated i am her uncle and this is her aunt, and we both are going to need you to not act so overzealous when greeting her, and i turned to my niece and i straight out told her and you need to carry yourself much better than this when in public! The problem being while we all raise our children with a line drawn, my one brother and sil do not, they are trying to stay young with their children therefore are allowing them literally to run amuck, and if anyone says anything we are wrong and it didn't happen that way, so there you have one scenario as to where the parents are.

by on Oct. 15, 2012 at 1:54 AM


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