Ted Balaker says: "A 30-year-old college student, husband and father of two, studying to be a paramedic says 'fuck' outside of class, and his professor gets offended. She threatens him with detention (he's 30!), the administration boots him from the class and nearly ruins his career."
"I was persecuted by my college for saying the word 'fuck' in conversation with another student after class."
In 2010, Isaac Rosenbloom was a student at Hinds Community College in Mississippi. He was disappointed to receive a grade of "74" on an exam, and after class ended he walked outside and complained to a fellow student, "This grade is going to fuck up my entire GPA."
After overhearing the comment, Rosenbloom's professor, Barbara Pyle, berated him for cursing and threatened to send him to detention. Says Rosenbloom, "I countered with, 'I'm 30 years old. This is college. There is no detention.'"
Rosenbloom didn't get detention, but the husband and father of two children received something worse: Administrators booted him from Pyle's class. The punishment jeopardized his financial aid eligibility and could have derailed Rosenbloom's plans to become a paramedic.
Then FIRE got involved.
"If it wasn't for FIRE," says Rosenbloom, "I wouldn't have a career. I would be delivering pizzas instead of saving lives."
Mark Frauenfelder is the founder of Boing Boing and the editor-in-chief of MAKE and Cool Tools. Twitter: @frauenfelder. His new book is Maker Dad: Lunch Box Guitars, Antigravity Jars, and 22 Other Incredibly Cool Father-Daughter DIY Projects