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Massachusetts town prohibits cursing in public

Washing kids’ mouths out with soap used to be the standard punishment for swearing. Now, the citizens of Middleborough, Mass., have decided to up the ante and make people pay a fine for cursing in public. These new measures aren’t supposed to affect private convos, but just turn down the volume on the bad language.



Middleborough has had some problems with teens hanging out in the town center and swearing so much that customers were being scared away from the shops, The Guardian reports. The city already had a bylaw that defined cursing in public as a crime, but the police never enforced it.  Officials are hoping that by imposing a fine instead of a long, drawn-out trial, police will be more likely to stop the cursing. 


The tricky part about these new fines is that the Supreme Court decided years ago that the government had no Constitutional right to restrict free speech based on swearing. But on the other hand, Massachusetts has its own law allowing policemen to arrest people who curse at others in public. So for right now, it’s up to each law enforcer in Middleborough to decide how far he or she is going to carry this new ordinance.


What do you think, babes? Is this town destroying free speech, or just keeping its streets squeaky clean?

BY CARRIE RUPPERT ON 6/12/2012 2:44:00 PM


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