Speak Outs
Speak Out
Does a town’s no-swearing bylaw violate the right to free speech?

Nov. 19, 2012

When you’re riding on the school bus, attending a concert, or shopping at the mall, you're likely to hear people using curse words. Does it bother you? Does it depend on how loud it is? Or if the cursing is directed at you or your friends?

In Middleborough, Mass., a town of about 23,000, citizens decided last summer to enforce a 1968 bylaw by imposing a $20 fine for loud, public profanity. Supporters of law were concerned about groups of youths who gathered on streets or public parks. Mimi Duphily, a former town selectwoman, said in an interview with the Associated Press that she was concerned that loud, public profanity from the youths hurt downtown businesses and frightened away young children and senior citizens. “They’ll sit on the bench and yell back and forth to each other with the foulest language,” she said.

In September, Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley recommended that the bylaw should not be enforced because it violates the First Amendment’s right to free speech. A spokeswoman for Coakley said the bylaw did not meet “constitutional standards” and “should be replaced by the town, and in the meantime, not actively enforced.”

Since 1968, the bylaw rarely had been enforced because it criminalized cursing and law enforcement did not find it was worth the time and money to prosecute. In June, the town voted to decriminalize loud, public profanity and allowed to police to write a ticket, imposing a fine instead.

Duphily, a proponent for enforcement of the bylaw and a downtown merchant, said in the AP interview: “This has nothing to do with freedom of speech. This is about verbal assault.” She said private and casual conversations were not the target.

Another local merchant, Robert Saquet, described himself as “ambivalent” about the no-swearing proposal. “In view of words commonly used in movies and cable TV, it’s kind of hard to define exactly what is obscene,” he said.

Not all speech is protected by the First Amendment, and there is no consensus on how much speech is protected. Often courts weigh the individual’s interest in free expression against the government’s interest in restricting that speech. The Supreme Court has ruled that the government may ban fighting words or threats. An opinion written in 1919 by Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. is often cited as a reason to restrict free speech. It is paraphrased as “You can’t yell ‘fire’ in a crowded theater,” meaning that the First Amendment doesn’t protect false speech that is likely to cause immediate harm to others.

The government can also restrict speech in public forums, such as streets and public parks, based on time, place and manner regulations, but not based on the content of the speech. For example, the government may be allowed to restrict where a large protest may be held if traffic control or public safety becomes an issue but not because officials disagree with what protesters are saying.

What do you think?

Does the no-swearing bylaw violate the First Amendment? Does the local government have a strong interest in restricting this type of speech? Should speech that makes others uncomfortable be protected by the First Amendment? Why or why not?

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Comments
3/18/2016
Stroudsburg, Pa
Tiffany
Mr. Hanna/Stroudsburg JHS
I believe that banning cursing does violate the fourth amendment. The fourth amendment protects freedom of speech and expression. Cursing is a form of speech and it expresses you feelings sometimes. Some people are uncomfortable about it and others are perfectly fine with it, it just depends on the person. If someone curses a lot then thats them, they have the right to do that because of the fourth amendment.

3/17/2016
Stroudsburg Pennsylvania
Nandee C
Mr.Hana Stroudsburg JHS
I without a doubt believe a law prohibitingiting public swearing is unconstitutional. There are 1,025,109 words in the English language and every American citizen has the right to use all of the words as they'd like without limitation from the government. No where in the constitution does it say that if ones speech offends others it is prohibited by law. "Curse" words are just strong words that have negative connotations because they are used in anger, using them isn't a crime. There is no word in this world that you can't just ignore. There is no. conversation you can't walk away from if some one is using "unnecessary " foul language. I believe that people should be able to use as much foul language as they see fit to get there point across, but many choose not to because of there character. Are they fining people who use swear words because they are offending and endangering others well-being or because they are judging their character.

3/16/2016
Stroudsburg, PA
Alice
Mr.Hanna/Stroudsburg JHS
In my opinion, the no-swearing bylaw violates the First Amendment. The First Amendment allows freedom of speech and cursing is a form of speech therefore it should be allowed. I think that speech that makes others uncomfortable should still be protected by the First Amendment because people have different comfort zone and sensitivity levels. One person's idea of a disturbing conversation can be another person's idea of a casual conversation.

12/11/2015
Diamond Bar, CA
JaelinP1
Wong/Lorbeer
I believe the town's no-swearing bylaw does violate the right to free speech. Sometimes people can't help swearing and they mean no harm towards others. Telling someone they can't swear in this town is similar to telling a person they can't pray. Some people swear like it's their life and can't help. It is a personal right to talk how a person wants. The Bill of Rights supports this, specifically Amendment one's freedom of speech clause.

11/11/2015
Utah
Ashlynn
PMS
This is completely wrong, they CAN NOT tell you how to speak because that would be abiding your first amendment right! It is the same way with schools! How can they tell you not to swear or not to say any thing profound?!? That is completely disregarding your rights as a human being! I don't know... I just think it is wrong. No you shouldn't swear in public, you should be respectful, but it just depends on the person. Some people can not help swearing. Its just a part of their language. So no! NO ONE can make you stop swearing, not a cop, a teacher, no one. It is your own personal right to talk how you want, when you want, and where you want! That is exactly why it is in The Bill of Rights. Because it is only fair that you can talk the way you would like!

6/4/2015
Stroudsburg, PA
Mae
Mr. Hanna
If I want to drop the F-bomb, I can. I'm not gonna filter myself just because I'm in public. I only have a filter when, (A) I'm at school, (B) I am in the presence of the elderly and (C) I am in the presence of small children.

4/10/2015
Pennsylvania
John
Archbishop Wood
I personally believe that punishing people by law for using vulgarity is sometimes necessary. I believe it is only necessary when there is harassment or hateful slurs towards people.

4/7/2015
Pennsylvania
John
Archbishop Wood
I personally believe that punishing people by law for using vulgarity is sometimes necessary. I believe it is only necessary when there is harassment or hateful slurs towards people.

3/13/2015
Warminster, PA
Mr. Firmani
Archbishop Wood
First, no one denies the inappropriateness of foul language, but to enforce this law would be ineffective. Does it violate the First Amendment? That all depends on where and how the speech is directed.

10/2/2014
NC
Maddie
Stewart NCVPS
The First Amendment protects all forms of speech and expression. While it has been reinterpreted as not covering obscenity, trying to define which words are obscene and which are acceptable would be an extremely difficult process. It would be impossible to satisfy everyone, as the obscenity of words is a matter of personal beliefs. People would be upset and protest, which would probably increase the amount of swearing in the town. Overall, it's better to abridge free speech as little as possible, preferably just when it's putting others in danger. Swearing may be uncomfortable for some, but it isn't dangerous.

9/24/2014
Murrieta California
Steph Folston
Mr. Jabro Creekside High School
Yes, freedom of speech is the first amendment and if swearing is part of your speech then you have the freedom to speak it. The local government has somewhat of a strong interest in restricting this type of speech because the people want the government to stop the profanity. Speech that makes others uncomfortable should be protected by the first amendment because your parents teach you as a little kid to be kind with your words then they tell you when and where its okay to say things. So unless if your brought up as a kid with a bad mouth you'll hush in front of people around you but as an experience of my own I never knew my grandparents cursed until a few months ago but they think its disrespectful for others to curse. To be honest everybody does it no matter how good you think you are.

4/11/2014
Frisco, TX
Ashley
Adams/CTE Center
The town's bylaw violates any person's first amendment right. Everywhere we go more than likely we will hear someone swear. It's a part of today's society. We can't control what people say when it has nothing to do with us. Someone's version of loud profanity could be different from a neighbor's, so there really is no way to determine what took place in the situation. People have a right to their opinion and no one can try to change their opinion. While some might find cussing disrespectful and interrupting most people are used to public profanity in today's society.

4/11/2014
Frisco, Texas
Sarah
Adams/CTE Center
The bylaw is a clear violation of the free speech clause of the First Amendment. It's true that not all forms of speech are protected under the First Amendment, but those that are not are only the ones that pose a clear and immediate danger to the safety of the people around them. Restricting something you find to be "obscene" is quite ridiculous in that the definition of words that fall into that category varies from person to person. Therefore, the law is to arbitrary to be justified. Furthermore, cursing does not pose a serious threat to the public, and therefore, under the First Amendment, the bylaw is illegal.

4/11/2014
Frisco, TX
Sahar
Adams/CTE Center
The town's no-swearing bylaw does in fact violate a persons first amendment. Now a days, profanity, although obscene, is still apart of our society. As long as people are not threatening or making a scene, swearing should be legal. Taking away a persons right to swear is basically taking away their right to an opinion. Making this illegal will only cause an uprising among society.

4/10/2014
Frisco/TX
Sydney
Adams/ CTE Center
This towns bylaw does violate the first amendment. This bylaw states that whoever violates this bylaw by cussing loudly and in public will receive a fine. Everyones definition of loud is different, while one person can say that a citizen was cussing another could say that it was quiet. A woman stated that the kids would sit out front of her store and yell curse words. Then Mr. Duphily stated that this issue has nothing to do with free speech but that this issue is about verbal attacks. No one ever claimed they were offended, but they felt that the cursing was bad for business, so that claim is invalid. I do believe it is unconstitutional to take away a persons right to cuss, because by doing that they're taking away a persons voice. Every voice matters.

4/10/2014
Frisco, Texas
Brielle
Adams/CTE Center
The town's no-swearing bylaw does violate a persons first amendment right of free speech. In todays society swearing has become a norm that everybody hears at least one a day. Even though swearing may be seen as disrespectful, they have the right to voice their opinion. The town at that point does not have the ability to refuse everybody in the town their right to freedom of speech. It is not up to us to tell people what they can and can't believe and say, so taking away a persons right to cuss would be like taking away their right to voice their opinion. In this case, the first amendment right was violated by the town's no-swearing bylaw that was put in place.

4/9/2014
Frisco/ TX
Victoria
Adams/ CTE Centre
The no-swearing bylaw does in fact, violate the right to free speech. Profanity is most definitely frowned upon, but by living in modern day society, and because of the inevitable increase of societal standards among the younger populations, it is almost impossible not to hear the occasional curse word. Modern day music and television may be at fault for this, but really the development in society's culture, should take the blame for the increased usage of profanity. And while, as many would agree, profanity is viewed negatively, this does not mean cussing should be out lawed. It is not our decision to choose what another person is allowed to say, because, no matter how you look at it, it is not fair to that person. Making swearing illegal is in violation of the First Amendment's freedom of speech.

11/12/2013
Houston/Texas
Jessica
P
This is a violation of my free speech. I was just given suspension for swearing to friends and only I was called out and suspended for saying that it was a violation of my rights!!!

10/6/2013
Rutherfordton, NC
Jacob
Jiles NCVPS
The no-swearing bylaw does violate the first amendment. Their speech is legal as long as it is not a threat to anyone. The local government interest in restricting this type of speech is two fold. The first reason is the money that they are making off the fines. The second is that the majority of people that are offended by it are of voting age, the people that are being prosecuted for it are younger and cannot vote. The town is not taking into consideration the rights of the kids because the kids cannot vote them out of office. Speech that makes a person feel uncomfortable should not be banned. It at one time made Caucasians feel uncomfortable for African-Americans to be in the same schools, and public facilities as them. This would be a blow to free speech and silence all dissention and debate, which is central to American democracy.

10/6/2013
NC
Camille
Grimsley
I really think that anti-swear law violates your freedom of speech rights tremendously. The fact that "curse words" are really just words people deemed inappropriate should show that it is allowed in public. Curse words do not hurt other people physically and, because they are used a lot, mentally. We should be allowed to use obscenity, whether people like it or not.

9/27/2013
Watertown
Danny A-M
Rimas
There's no doubt that a no-swearing bylaw violates your freedom to speech, but that doesn't mean it is necessarily a bad thing. I think this will encourage people and sort of force people to use better language. It would be hard to distinguish although which times that person should be fined. Its one thing if people are using swears in regular conversation in a park, but another if a person slams his or her fingers in a car. There are some instances where you can control it, but others where I think the time may merit it. I think it is a good idea, but there would be a lot of grey area.

9/27/2013
Watertown/MA
Nick A
Rimas/WHS
To be honest, this is the first time of me hearing about this and I find it utterly ridiculous. How do you expect kids not to swear? Not only that, id would like to meet Ms. Duphily and have her say to my face that she has never cursed before. Everyone swears, its like breathing to some people. I do agree that swearing in some cases shouldnt be used. But those kids at the park had every right to swear at each other. They weren't hurting anybody they were just making fun of each other. This bylaw completely goes against the first amendment and I find it ridiculous.

9/27/2013
watertown
Angelika
Rimas
The no-swearing bylaw does violate the First Amendment. Everyone has freedom of speech and it shouldnt matter even if there swears. It should be a law. That is a force and everyone will be getting fines every single day. Also most people are raised to have respect in front of other people in public places. The fact that this is even a law or used to be one is ridiculous... were not 3 years old. Might as well tell everyone to walk in straight lines on the sidewalks...Theres no reason to punish someone for swearing. There just words and everyone does it.

9/25/2013
Watertown
Rubens
Rimas
I think it does because everyone should be able to swear, eventually we will all say them and no one will care. I say that little kids should be exposed to swears at an early age so they know what they mean.

9/6/2013
Belleville, New York
Abbey
Colby/BHCS
I believe that although you have First Amendment rights, that you should mantain composure at all times. Yes, people do get upset and heated up about different things... However, while you are in public places is not the time to act profaine. I feel that if you are upset, there is no controlling, sometimes, on what you say or feel. Some people just say what they feel and when they feel it without holding back. Profanity can sometimes go along with being hateful or unreasonable. Therefore, if you are arguing with someone, you should hold back as much as possible because it looks classless, quite honestly. But the truth of the matter is is that we have all sworn at some time or another; even if it is not considered a "bad" swear word. So, i guess I am on the fence with this one. It does violate the First Amendment rights, however, you shouldn't abuse your First Amendment rights either.

5/29/2013
Perryton/ Texas
shawna
TTAEC
i believe that people should be able to speak how they want its not just teenagers who curse, where do you think they learn it from? 'There parents are the ones who teach them, I believe that the adults should be fined just as much as the teens do!! :) "any comments?"

3/24/2013
Denver, Colorado
Alexa
Webber/Kennedy
Yes, a town's no-swearing by law violates the right to free speech. A person should be able to speak however they want, where ever they want. Most have enough common sense and respect to not speak profanities out in public around others. But if they do as a mistake, why should they be punished? This isn't elementary school and the law isn't our mothers.

3/22/2013
Sidney, MT
Jesse Ziler
Mr. Faulhaber
This definitely goes against our First Amendment right of free speech. Yes, profanity is frowned on and thought to be immature, but you can't keep people from saying what they want. Maybe the person has tourettes or something and can't help it. A negative outcome of this is that people will continue to swear but there is nothing the law can do about that.

3/8/2013
Denver/Colorado
Aaliyah
Mr. Webber/John F. Kennedy High School
I think that people have the right to say whatever they want to say. I don't believe that they should be fined for it. That being said, There should be a level of respect.

2/20/2013
Sidney, MT
Lacey
Mr. Faulhaber
yes it is violating the right to free speech. noboby cares whether someone swears in public everyone does and why have a freedom of speech if you cant say what you want.

2/20/2013
sidney/montana
vickie
mr. faulhaber/sidney high school
People have been swearing for years before this generation. This is also going to be going on forever I believe. so people should just suck it up and deal with it. It is our freedom of speech and they are just expressing themselves.

2/15/2013
Belleville, New York
John
Colby- BHCS
A no-swearing law is a little extreme and very unrealistic. Telling people it's against the law to swear is going to be about as effective as telling them that they can't sneeze unless they're given permission.

2/15/2013
Belleville/New York
Heather
Colby/Belleville
People are going to to swear, people need to get over it. It's freedom of speech, yes some words are vulgar and can be very disrespectful, but non swear words can do that same thing. If you don't want to hear swearing simply hang around different peoople, or move yourself from the area thats swearing, or ask them to please stop, or just ignore it.

2/11/2013
Reidsville
Christy Hendley
Reidsville High
Swearing is hurtful in all circumstances! I mean come on, why is there not a law like this where i live.

2/6/2013
Dauphain/PA
trevor
morris/central Dauphain
we should be allowed to swear, it shows are freedom and swearing dose not go and violate anyones rights. Swearing is allowed under the 1st amendment because it is not hurtful..unless intended.

2/6/2013
Harrisburg/PA
Joey
Morris/Central Dauphin
I feel that cursing is part of free speech and being told not to do so is a violation of free speech.As long as you dont insult someone with the use of foul language then it should be ok. Cursing out loud is ok as long as it isnt directed to anyone.

2/6/2013
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
Devon Dice
The Morris/Central Dauphin High School
Well, it does not violate the First Amendment because the First Amendment does not protect obscene or rude remarks. But in my opinion you should be allow to swear. Studies have shown that if you are in a severe pain swearing releases endorphins to relieve the pain. Also swearing in involuntary sometimes. Swearing is natural.

1/23/2013
Irving/Texas
Hannah
Bradley/Nimitz
The no-swearing bylaw does violate the First Amendment but it is not a bad thing. When people go out into a public place they do not want to hear profane language being thrown around. People should keep their dislike or opinions to themselves and not express their opinions for all to hear.

1/21/2013
Irving/Tx
Jazmyn
Bradley/Nimitz
The local bylaw on no swearing in public doesn't violate the first amendment. No one wants to go to a public place and hear someone using offensive language. Only certain speech is protected from the first amendment and profanity isn't one of them. I agree with the bylaws, and I think they should be upheld.

1/19/2013
Irving/Tx
Jennifer R
Bradley/Nimitz
Although swearing is an offensive way of expressing oneself, it is a form of speech. Many times foul language seems to slip out of one's mouth without the intention of hurting others but other times it is considered "verbal assault." Using foul words shouldn't be forbidden because words are a form of expression, but there should be restrictions made on what can and can't be said.

1/18/2013
Irving/Tx
Carolina R
Bradley/Nimitz
The bylaw does not violate the freedom of speech because the intended use of the amendment was for freedom to the people to speak their opinion of the government without being punished. I do not know how much of a problem this is. Of course if people or teenagers are really causing a repeated riot in public maybe a $20 fine has to serve them right.

1/18/2013
Irving/Texas
Linda
Bradley/Nimitz
Yes swearing in public can offend people but just like any other form of speech, but it should be protected by the 1st Amendment. Unless that person saying the word causes violence and harm to others , it shouldn't be restricted. Same way the court decided in the Brandenburg v. Ohio supreme court case, speech is protected as long as it isn't "likely to incite or produce such action." or "directed at inciting or producing imminent lawless action". Since curse words are not likely to cause imminent danger, it is protected by the 1st amendment, so the new law does violate the first amendment.

1/18/2013
Irving, TX
Liliana
Bradley/Nimitz
The no-swearing bylaw does not violate the First Amendment. Since it is affecting businesses and bothering the public then it should be enforce. If a speech makes some people uncomfortable it shouldn't mean that it shouldn't be protected by the First Amendment. I think it should depend, for example profanity since it is more considered verbal assault it should not be protected by the First Amendment.

1/17/2013
Irving/TX
Alex H.
Bradley/Nimitz
It's clearly stated in the first amendment that we as the people have freedom of speech, so a simple little curse word shouldn't violate any law if we have the right protected in the bill of rights. Its understandable in certain circumstances such as in a playground with lots of kids around that cussing shouldn't be allowed. But I believe that should be up to us as human beings to realize the wrong and right times to use such language. Sometimes when people get really angry, cursing is the only way they can express themselves and actually ease themselves from that anger. So, I believe that it's unconstitutional to make it illegal to curse, mainly since we as Americans have the freedom of speech, but yet our freedom is being limited more and more as time goes by.

1/16/2013
Irving, Texas
Ashley
Bradley?Nimitx
This no-swearing bylaw that originated in Middleborough, Massachusetts, entirely violates 1st amendment rights. Profanity, whether we like it or not, is a way of expressing ourselves, and it is shown by simply when we stub our toe or lose money. Because I don't know about anyone else, but I for one, am always sure to curse whenever i am inflicted with pain. Not to mention, we hear it all over the media: on our televisions, movie screens, and computer screens. The only thing that should be restricted is language that incites violence or causes direct harm to an individual. As a citizen of the united states of America, i like having the ability to express my opinions and ideas. And I believe cursing aids us in our abilities to express ourselves,, Therefore, this should not be restricted.

1/15/2013
Irving/Texas
Pablo
Bradley/Nimitz
The no swearing bylaw does not violate the First Amendment. Simple as that. First of all, “freedom of speech” is not what youths and and the majority of people make it out to be. No one can say whatever it is that's on their mind, exactly when they want to, where they want to, to whom they want to. It just doesn't work that way. If it's something that potentially causes or leads to imminent danger or harm, it can't be said, as spelled out by Justice Holmes Jr.. Obscene and vulgar language? No. While we may have the freedom of speech, individuals also have the right to not be exposed to obscene and vulgar material. This also includes such language. No one can control what is said in a private setting, in a private conversation, but out in public, where others may be unwillingly exposed to such language, that's where the line is drawn, and by no means does that line cross through the First Amendment.

1/15/2013
Irving, TX
Bethany
Bradley/Nimitz
The only speech that should be restricted by the government is violent speech. Any other speech should not and cannot possibly be restricted. If a conversation does not invoke violence, what is the standard to regulate speech by? Some conversations that use vulgar language is just that – language. However, some speech that is vulgar is intended as a threat or incites violence. But how can we regulate this? Unless it can be proven that the words an individual used actually began an outburst in violence, all other judgments that the language is too vulgar is purely subjective. A veteran, middle -aged police officer may find a good amount of language in an exchange offensive, but a young junior police officer may find the same language in that exchange perfectly okay. Therefore, the only way to regulate and fine an individual for vulgar language is if their language actually began a violent outbreak.

1/13/2013
Irving/Texas
Omar R.
Bradley/Nimitz
In a way the no-swearing bylaw does not violate the First Amendment because it can also be disturbing the peace in a public place, imagine going to a place where you want to relax with your children or so and there are a group of people who use vulgar language? It's just something some people find disturbing and disrupting their peace. The local government should have a strong interest in restricting that type of speech because that is how the environment might fluctuate in the local area. Yes speech should protect others that feel uncomfortable because, as stated above, it is breaching the peace.

1/13/2013
Irving, TX
Kelsey
Bradley, Nimitz High School
The no-swearing bylaw completely ignores the first amendment and bends itself to where it is "legal". Speech is a part of character which is why in some movies they curse in order to make this person look stronger, stupid, reckless, or passionate. Cursing though it may be unattractive is something that people tend to pick up. Being any of those things is not against the law so why band the words used by those types of people when they are just expressing themselves. If cursing was against the law in the uses described in the bylaw it probably wouldn't even be effective. Media has put something into the peoples mind and now that it's there I am sure it plans on staying.

1/11/2013
Sidney
Brandon
Mr. Faulhaber
There is no question that the bylaw violates the First Amendment. We all are entilted to our way of talking and our opinions. As long as the profanity is not used to cause harm then it is not a violation of the First Amendment.

1/11/2013
Montana
Alec
Faulhaber
The no-swearing bylaw definately violates the First Amendment. The local governments can and should have an interest in preventing this type of speech, but they can not ban it or fine you for saying it. Speech that makes others uncomfortable should be protected by the First Amendment. It is a persons right to think what they want, and I should respect that they have opinions that might not completely agree with mine.

1/11/2013
Sidney, MT
Keziah
Mr. Faul-haber/Sids
I seriously think this is ridiculous. This no-swearing law most DEFINITELY violates the First Amendment. There is nothing that says that profanities are illegal in any way. I can't even continue on this blog, because that is so ridiculous...

1/8/2013
Nebes
Nick
Kentucky
I think it's funny when somebody yells a cuss word out.

1/6/2013
Montgomery/Tx.
Leslie
Metzger/Montgomery High School
Yes, the no-swearing bylaw definitely violates the 1st Amendment. It completely contradicts our right to free speech by making restrictions on speech we are free to use. Face it, sometimes we slip up and say something we didn’t mean to, including offensive language. If, on occasion, we can’t control what we say, what makes the government think they can? The only people who have rightfully gained that power are the people with ultimate authority... Our parents.

1/4/2013
belleville, ny
Rebecca
colby/belleville henderson
yes the no-swearing law liolate teh 1st amendement!! yes the government has a strong interest in restriciting this type of speech. you have the right to speak your speech. You can talk the way you wanna talk but limit yourself. yes if you feel uncomfortable, then dont be around people who use fool language. if you accidently let it slip thats okay. yeah when you go to public places your gonna hear it but who cares.

1/4/2013
Irving/Tx
Jennifer T.
Bradley/Nimitz
No one can control how you express yourself. In the first amendment of the constitution our right to freedom of speech is listed. This means that we can speak our mind, but there is always a hinted restriction. But in this current society you don’t have to leave your home to hear a swear word, you can simply turn on the TV, radio, or go on the internet. This law is violating our freedom of speech right. You are entitled to swear if you trip and fall; it comes naturally depending on your nature. But fining people because they are expressing how they feel, this will not become a law because even though some one may swear out loud it is your choice to listen or pay attention to them. You can’t control what others say, but you can control what you hear.

1/3/2013
Montgomery/TX
Ryan C.
Metzger/Montgomery High School
I think the no-Swearing bylaw does not violate the First Amendment. I am in no way religiously bias but the fact that the bylaw is not restricting you to not swear at all it is simply saying not to swear by shouting or yelling in public. The fine is intended for people using 'loud, public profanity' not people engaging in casual conversation and it clearly states in the article that it is not targeting the private and casual conversations. I mean do you want your children growing dropping F-Bombs at every little thing that goes wrong?

1/2/2013
Montgomery
Elizabeth S.
Metzger
I believe that no-swearing bylaw is a violation of our first amendment. Just like the saying "sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me," words can not physically hurt you. No law should control what you can and cannot say. I do not think that a law will be passed because it is against the first amendment and it is not harming, it is just something that they do not want to hear.

1/2/2013
Montgomery, Texas
Garrison Z.
Metzger/Montgomery
I think that the no-swearing bylaw does violate the right to free speech. People have the freedom of speech for a reason and just becuase its not what some people want to hear doesnt mean there should be a law over it. It doesn't harm anybody. It's just not what some people want to hear. People are going to hear cursing anyways.

12/31/2012
Montgomery,TX
Venus T.
Metzger/Montgomery High School
A no-swearing bylaw doesn't violate the first amendment. The first amendment states that you have the right to freedom of speech. Since having so many other ways to express what your saying without cuss words, passing a no-swearing law really isn't taking your freedom of speech. You can talk perfectly fine without cuss words. thereof you still have your freedom to speech. I Don't think the government has any strong interest at all in restricting this type of speech, because it's not physical hurting someone or breaking any laws. You shouldn't make a law just because people are uncomfortable because that's an opinion not all people take to such effect of hearing cussing. So to make a law because people are "uncomfortable" would defeat the purpose of why laws are really made.

12/21/2012
Irving/TX
Kristian
Bradley/Nimitz
The no-swearing bylaw does not violate the first amendment because those words are not righteous and shouldn't be allowed to describe a person or express a feeling of anger. The local government does not have a strong interest in restricting this type of speech because they cannot necessarily control or restrict what a person wants to say. Speech that makes other uncomfortable shouldn't be allowed to say in public and shouldn't be protected by the first amendment. There is a time and place for those words, not in public where a younger citizen can hear or even where an elderly can hear. Swearing is not a way of expressing ideas, it only expresses anger and low maturity level.

12/18/2012
Irving, Texas
Sona
Bradley,Nimitz
Its true that the first amendment gives us the freedom of speech, but that does not necessarily mean that anyone can say whatever they want and get away with it. It is disturbing for a lot of people to hear profanity in public. When a person is using foul language, it automatically changes other peoples opinion on them. Our fore fathers gave us the 1st amendment to give the people right to express ideas and opinions freely and not for it to be misused. Cursing is not the way to express ideas because it could offend someone. Now a days, it is very common to hear even little kids curse in front of people. Half of the time, they don't even know what it truly means and how bad the word actually is.It makes me wonder what this world has come to. I believe that the use of public profanity should be punished because not everyone wants their little kid to hear those words and use it whenever they get mad.We the older generation, is supposed to be role models for the younger generation and cursing in public is not anywhere close to being a good role model for the kids.Cursing some one out is not going to make an individuals opinion be more valid.

12/16/2012
Irving/Tx
Vanessa C.
Bradley/Nimitz
The bylaw doesn't violate the First Amendment. The local government doesn't have any interest in restricting speech that uses cuss words they are more interested to solve problems that may deal with the government and laws that may affect others . I've never heard of anyone getting a ticket because they cussed. The First Amendment is fine just the way it is. There is no need to changer because there are only a selected people that don't like certain words.

12/14/2012
Montgomery/Texas
N Deveraux
Metzger/Montgomery High School
In my opinion, the no-swearing bylaw does not violate the First Amendment. The First Amendment clearly states that you do have the right to free speech, but it has to be exercised only "with regard to the rights of all person"; if you do not understand what that means, it means that it should not be of harm to other people, which in this case it is harmful to others because local businesses are losing customers (senior citizens and younger children) because of kids taking their "free speech" to far. It is okay for you to speak that way in your own home, but, in lieu of other citizens in public just be wary of your words and refrain from the usage of profane language. Yes, the majority of local government does have a strong interest in restricting this type of speech, but of course, you have the ones who always disagree with everything. Yes, speech that makes others uncomfortable should be protected by the First Amendment because you have small children around who learn things so quickly and you do not want to start out teaching kids profane language because from their who knows what other stuff they can learn too quickly before it is their time to develop/learn those things. So, we as human beings should be considerate to others' views and just keep the profane language at home or in our own private area not in public.

12/12/2012
Irving/TX
Martha
Bradley/Nimitz
No swearing bylaw doesn't violate the First Amendment, although people who tend to swear quite often are the most affected by this law in that town, most people do like to have and enjoyable environment to relax in. The first amendment gives you the right to speak your mind, and let the world know about your opinions and doubts. A curse word here, and there sure helps get your point across sometimes or helps you release tension. However there is always a time and place for things like this, a community likes a good/ healthy environment in which their children can run and play without having them repeat unpleasant words they've picked up somewhere else. Having read this, it seems as if the government is not putting as much effort as they should, although bringing up the issue here might influence on something. People need to learn that cursing out loud, at the sight and hearing of other people might be considered rude, and or vulgar, and it's not the right thing, which is why it should not be protected by the First Amendment. Profanity and vulgarity are not part of the base on which this country was built on, and although some people have sadly lost sense of its true meaning, I don't think curse words were part of it.

12/10/2012
Irving, TX
Lily
Bradley/Nimitz
A town's no-swearing bylaw does not violate a person's right to free speech. I mean, profanity can be a form of expression protected by the First Amendment depending on the circumstances, but there is no general exception for profanity unless it disrupts the peace, or arouses a violent reaction. There's a time and place for everything. Freedom of Speech was not added to our Bill of Rights to excuse profanity. Nowhere does it mention that we have the right to be offensive and vulgar to others. The government only has strong interests in cases where someone, or many people are being very explicit and it becomes a big issue. Like they said,”It also depends if it's worth the time and money.” Speech that makes others uncomfortable should not be protected by the First Amendment because vulgarity is hateful.

12/10/2012
CA
Yovana
MHS
I think the no-swearing bylaw does violate the first amendment. The local government does not have a strong interest in restricting this kind of speech. Simply because someone`s speech makes others uncomfortable does not mean it should be banned. There are a lot of things that make others uncomfortable but they are not banned for example inappropriate clothing. The local government should focus on important issues not taking care of people`s etiquette.

12/9/2012
California
Melissa
Monache
We all want an ideal society where everyone dresses nicely, acts nicely, and speaks nicely but that isn't society and we shouldn't try to make it that way. Most of us have said a swear word at one point in our lives, should we be penalized for that? No. It's absurd.

12/9/2012
Porterville/CA
Elizabeth
Smith/Monache
I believe it does violate the First Amendment. Although using profanity in public is discouraged, it should not be made illegal. People should use their own discretion and should know when it is appropriate, and public places are not so.

12/8/2012
Montgomery/Texas
Jansen S.
Metzger/Montgomery High School
In my opinion the revised bylaw does not violate the First Amendment. You should not be allowed to curse in public and enforcing the fine seems to be the right thing to do. Neither residents of Middleborough nor anyone else for that matter should have to listen to the shouting of profane language when they go into town. The law is not telling you what you can and cannot say but to say it in an appropriate manner when in public.

12/7/2012
benson/AZ
Will
Soresen/benson high school
I feel as though freedom of speach is a fundemental rule on wich this country was founded. No matter how trashy or offensive, or rude it may be, Its my right. At the same time , all priveleges come with consequences, and in order to deserve such a simple right you must handle yourself in a manner that is respectful to those around you. I should not cuss by my own decision, not because some one else deemed it un-needed. It is a thing of honor, ettiquet, and maturity. As soon as the government regulates me down to what I can even say, I believe its my time to go.

12/4/2012
Irving/TX
Daniela R
Bradley/Nimitz
The no-swearing bylaw does not violate the First Amendment. It doesn't because the First Amendment does not protect inappropriate or crazy-like behavior. Say a person kills someone as a form of speech or even protest, is that protected under the First Amendment? The local government should have a strong interest in restricting such speech because they should have a strong interest in making their residents happy. Speech that makes others uncomfortable should not be protected under the First Amendment because would you as a person want to be disrespected and feel uncomfortable at a place you love to be at?

12/4/2012
Irving/Tx
Ashley C
Bradley/Nimitz
The no-swearing bylaw does not violate the First Amendment to free speech. Just because the First Amendment States that we are able to say what ever we want does not mean that we can disrupt the peace. Swearing over and over again is not appreciated by people including my self. Saying one word would be fine, but cursing offends many people. Speech that makes others uncomfortable should not be protect by the First Amendment because swearing hurts people's feelings.

12/3/2012
Irving/Texas
Chhering
Bradley/Nimitz
I do not believe that no-swearing bylaw violates the First Amendment. Local government should have a strong interest in restricting this type of speech. Curse word shouldn't be protected because it really is harm on others by religion, age, gender or race.

12/3/2012
Benson, AZ
Aly
Sorensen
I believe that curse words can hurt many people. Cursing has become a part of the everyday speech for many people, and it affends many. With the $20 fine i believe it would stop a lot of the language. MAny people keep to themselves and others take it out on other people. I think it was a good idea for that for the protecting of other and respect for those around you.

12/2/2012
Irving/Tx
Jennifer R
Bradley/Nimitz
I agree with Duphily, "this has nothing to do with freedom of speech. This is about verbal assault." The no swearing bylaw wouldn't violate the first amendment because it would be another way of protecting people. Foul language can be hurtful and threatening. The government doesn't do a good job showing interest in this type of speech, if they did then this type of speech wouldn't exist. People who often speak in this foul manner make others perceive them as unprofessional and disrespectful beings.

12/2/2012
Benson/AZ
Karma
Sorenson/Benson
The 1st amendment protects free speech, there is no restrictions on words as long as there is no harm or damage caused. In order to outlaw curse words there would need to be a set list of which would be banned and would still be okay. I think it's fine to curse as long as it's not in a professional atmosphere such as school or work. Most people just over use the words in environments that aren't okay.

12/2/2012
Irving/Tx
Hector S.
Bradley/Nimitz
The no-swearing bylaw violates the First Amendment but should not be enforced in order to save time that can be used to solve bigger crimes. Although swearing is offensive, it is a right that all people have most of the time. The subject of swearing has changed throughout the years with the shock value in the words decreasing due to how frequently it's used. It is in the best interest of the local government to restrict foul language but an attempt to do so would be a waste of time. If the First Amendment were to restrict all words that make people uncomfortable, there wouldn't be any words in which people can say because all people are different, having different interests as well as different oppositions.

12/1/2012
Benson, Arizona
Noah P
Sorensen/ Benson High School
While many individuals may take exception to the use of profanity in public, the number of individuals who are ultimately injured by it's public use is ultimately smaller than the population of individuals whom are targeted regularly with other, more hurtful terms. The issue comes down to uniform enforcement, if an individual wishes to criminalize one form of offensive language, they must also equally penalize all forms of offensive language, else they risk unfairly targeting a single group. The most apparent issue lies within defining what constitutes offensive lanuage and profanity, and exactly who gets to define it. Attempting to translate these issues into legal statutes inherently begins to infringe upon another individual's right to free speech, however, it has been concluded in court that using language to personally affront an individual is not protected under the guise of free speech.

11/30/2012
Irving/TX
Sandra C.
Bradley/Nimitz
The no-swearing bylaw does not violate the First Amendment because the bylaw specifically says that the ones who get fined are people who are being loud while using profanity. Local government does have a strong interest in restricting profanity because it does make some people uncomfortable. Just because it makes some people uncomfortable does not mean that it has to be protected by the 1st amendment unless being too loud. There's a place for everything and using profanity in public loudly is not the correct place for that.

11/30/2012
Benson Arizona
Jesse R.
Sorenson
the only time the frist amendment stops one from saying something is if it puts people in harm or takes thier rights away. also you must define what is swearing to out law it. all word can be a awear word if we look at it that way. by doing this you could out law almost all speech. to me it sounds like a good idea but it is impossible to do.

11/30/2012
benson, az
allyson
mr. sorenson/ benson high school
I think that swearing isn't that big of a deal because they are just words. It should still be counted as freedom of speech because it is stuff that we say.

11/30/2012
Benson
Katya/ Keiley
Sorense/ Benson High
i think that the 1st amandment states that people have the right for freedom of speech and people maybe shouldnt take cursing so seriously because they are just words.

11/30/2012
Benson Arizona
Miriam E./Marlene E./Lucy F.
Mr.Sorensen
Yes I think it does because everyone choose the way to live their lives and speak their minds just not in public we all have our freedom as it says in the first amendment the goverment has a strong saying about it not everyone will agree but we are all different and we make decisions but we dont live here to please people.

11/30/2012
benson, az
alissa
sorenson, benson high school
yes i think it does because its a freedom of speech and its your right to speak what you want as it gives you in the first amendment. i dont think the government has a stong in say because it is oin writing that you have the right to tallk and say as you please. no if people dont like it then tough its life and people can say as they please if you dont like it then walk away or do something else this is how the world is now a days

11/30/2012
Benson AZ
Geneva K.
Marv Sorenson/Benson
I think that this is definitely a violation of the first ammendment. People should be able to do what they want and say what they want. As long as people aren't causing physical harm to others. If a person wishes to speak a certain way, they should. Granted if its a huge problem, eventually it will catch up to them in a professional setting . People should worry about themselves first and foremost and not bother with others!

11/30/2012
Besnon,AZ
Jordan
Marv Sorenson/ Benson High
Heck yes it does. If someone wants to swear they can. Dont get me wrong, There is time and place for everything. People should watch what they say in public, but being fined for what you want to say is wrong. Whats gunna happen next,? Gettin fined for farting inpublic just cuz you cant control your body movements? not that there is just wrong. Ya'll up in Massachussetts rnt right. Gett-r-done

11/30/2012
Benson, AZ
Zach T
Sorenson/Benson
I feel as though it does violate the First Amendment. If someone wants to swear, that's their opininon and they have every right to. In the real world, people swear; anyone is bound to hear it every day. People who don't swear shought respect others' right to swear because it's nothing more than a choice.

11/30/2012
benson/AZ
brandon
sorensen/benson high school
i think that people should be able to cuse because lot of people do but i think they should do it in the right place becuse theres a time and place for every thing its a freedom of speech

11/29/2012
Irving/TX
Julio
Bradley/Nimitz
The no-swearing bylaw does not violate the First Amendment because as the people in favor of the bylaw said that the bylaw is going to be used to keep the areas clean and safe for people of all ages. For example now a days where ever I go, half of the time I hear little kids about five to seven years old cursing and I'm just like, wow I never knew what those words meant until I was about eleven or twelve years old, now do we really want the children of the U.S. learning this disturbing language. Now the local government should have a strong interest in restricting this type of language because a person shouldn't really be allowed to go cursing here and there or to random strangers they see in the street. The First Amendment shouldn't protect a language that makes people feel uncomfortable because for one who wants to feel uncomfortable and second people wouldn't want some random person going up to them and start cursing out of nowhere.

11/29/2012
irving/tx
cindy m
bradley/nimitz
The no-swearing bylaw does not violate the right to free speech. It is up to the person how they speak and if they use profanity. A person can choose for them self how they want to present themselves. There are tons and tons of cuss words how could they ban them all? Some people have different definitions of swearing or cuss words, there would always be issues.

11/29/2012
Irving/Texas
Claudia
Bradley/Nimitz
The law enforced does not violate the 1st amendment. Freedom of speech protects our opinion on politics or anything we might want to express about the government. The local government is showing a lot of interested in keeping the speech of people under control. I am on the fence whether the first amendment because on one side people should be able to express themselves in any way they want and on the other side if there’s is no restriction children, the people who will form our future society, will grow hearing and talking profanity which will only harm our society.

11/29/2012
Irving/TX
Kenia R
Bradley/Nimitz
The no-swearing bylaw does not violate the first amendment because cursing should not even be part of our daily language and speech in the first place. The local government does not have a strong interest in restricting this form of speech because in our society today everybody seems to use that profane language everyday. I don’t think that that profane language should be protected by the first amendment because how are we going to raise educated people if all children hear coming out of peoples conversations are cuss words.

11/29/2012
Irving/Tx
Rebecca M.
Bradley/Nimitz
The no-swearing bylaw does not violate the First Amendment. The local government may have a strong interest in restricting cuss words depending on the place and time. There are too many words and many opinions that would have to be taken into consideration when discussing speech that makes people being uncomfortable. There are words that people use because back in their time it was ok but it offends others. Who are we to tell them that their speech is wrong.

11/29/2012
Irving/Tx.
Katie
Bradley/Nimitz
The no-swearing bylaw doesn't violate the First Amendment, because, as those in favor of they bylaw said, it is used to protect the safety of others and to also keep the areas "clean." The local government SHOULD have a strong interest in restricting this type of speech. However, many governments would rather just let it be. When people publicly curse, it makes the town, city, and even state look bad. Speech that makes others uncomfortable should not be protected under the first amendment. There are many other circumstances that when someone says something uncomfortable the government handles it. Same should go for swearing.

11/28/2012
Irving/Tx
Marisol
Bradley/Nimitz
No, the no-swearing bylaw does not violate the First Amendment. Like Coakley said, “this doesn't meet 'constitutional standards'.” The First Amendment protects political speech, and there are people who abuse this right. The First Amendment does not allow someone to actually go around saying whatever he/she wants to say. But, cursing does seem like something that could be censored, but in no way is it violating the First Amendment. If anything, restrictions could be applied to protect people from being verbally abused or anything similar to it. Cursing exists in different languages, in different places of the world, and in everyday life. It would be really hard and a waste of time to go around fining people for cursing in public. Protecting someone, with the First Amendment, from others who make them feel uncomfortable would be hard. If it is so bad that leads someone to have to take a case to court, then so be it. All of this shouldn't lead to having to involve the First Amendment in to it. The First Amendment already has a job, and a purpose. There is no need to add another to it. I understand why the local government would have an interest in restricting this type of speech. Having foul language around certain areas that can cost a business customers or something should be a strong drive. This is why the local government's strong interest to restricting speech like this, and it's a good reason, but let's not get carried away now.

11/28/2012
Irving/Texas
Monica
Bradley / Nimitz
The no-swearing bylaw does not violate the First Amendment. What make a curse word a bad word? It's just a word. If the local government makes the law pass. Then what's next are they going to abolish other words? No, because everyone has an opinion they have a right to speak their mind. If a person doesn't want to hear what they have to say then just simply walk away.

11/27/2012
Irving/ TX
Amber P
Bradley/ Nimitz
Swearing is annoying and it can be disrespectful, but they're just words. The first amendment does protect speech that can physically hurt someone, that being said, I've never seen a curse word pick up a sword- well at least not yet anyway. The local government has many other problems to deal with, this doesn't seem to be top of the list. Words are what they are- nothing more. Different people get uncomfortable by different things, it doesn't mean we should ban smelly people... even though... no, it's not right.

11/27/2012
Irving/TX
Jessica H
Bradley/Nimitz
The bylaw proposed violates our freedom of speech given by the first ammendment. However, there is always a time and place for using certain language such as swearing. Children should not be exposed to swearing while at the park or at the store with their parents. People need to understand that parents and grandparents will get upset when hearing profanity being used near their children or grandchildren and should have the self control and morals to refrain from cursing in a family friendly environment. Those who lack the self control should be fined with disturbing the peace.

11/27/2012
Irving Texas
Frankie R
Bradley Nimitz
Swearing has become so common that it's the new norm. Only in a professional or high class place is it still seen as a ugly and disrespectful representation. The local government is doing it's best at restricting swearing but i wouldn't say they're making it a strong interest. When and if someone gets to the point where others are uncomfortable the first amendment should no longer be protect that individual.

11/27/2012
Irving/Tx
Heather
Bradley/Nimitz
The no-swearing bylaw does not violate the First Amendment to free speech. In the 9th amendment it states that you have rights that are not listed by the Bill of Rights, just as just because you are entitled to free speech does not mean you can say whatever you want to say. The local government however, does not have a strong interest in restricting this speech, the most they will do is give you a warning, or if it is a repeated offense, they would give a ticket. Admit it, everyone one has been affected and hurt by certain language, whether it be a harrassment, profanity, or a rude comment. Speech that makes you uncomfortable, or is degrading needs to be abolished. Yes we have all slipped up a few times, but in this world, these harsh words are used like candy.

11/27/2012
Irving/TX
Mayra Z
Bradley/Nimitz
The no-swearing bylaw does violate the first amendment because the first amendment protects citizens in their right of having one of the major freedoms, which is speech. Cussing is a form of speech in a way people may think its not, but that truth is that its still is and they can't do anything about it . People who cuss need to find the moment and place where to use this profane language, some people may do it, specially teenagers, around their friends, but they need to realize when to use them.The government shouldn't have a big interest in this issue because a lot of people cuss and it is a form of speech people just say it out of impulse, does it mean every time someone cusses, they're going to get a ticket?This is an issue that is impossible to stop. The first amendment can't really protect others from hearing this because that's what freedom of speech is, people can hear or wont hear what they want ,it's something that can't be stopped.

11/27/2012
Irving,Tx
Dominic
Bradley/Nimitz
I honestly believe that the bylaw doesn't violate the First Amendment. I also know that local government doesn't have any interest in restricting this speech. What purpose would they have? I'm sure they have way more important things to be worrying about than whether if someone cusses or not. I've never heard of anyone getting a ticket because they cussed. The First Amendment is fine just the way it is. There is no need to changer it because they're is a select few people that don't like certain words.

11/27/2012
Irving Tx
Jasmin T.
Nimitz//Bradley
We are all human, and humans make mistakes, and half the time you do make a mistake, a cuss word follows the mistake. I agree with the fact that it is going against the 1st amendment and it should, be repealed. I also know that cussing, is a part of your freedom of expression, and no one can take that away. I do think that it should be frowned upon at certain places, not banned. People have free will and make mistakes so remebering not to cuss at certain places besides church seems impossible. I know, places where they cater to babies or young children or old people you should know not to cuss. I think banning it will only get people into a lot of trouble, not help diffuse the problem! It is against the law to speed, people still speed. No matter if you give them a ticket, or arrest them- they'll still do it. I don't think that banning would be smart, but if they insist on doing so, then fine. Putting up signs to remind people not to cuss could also be a alternative way to remind people without having to issues tickets or something along those lines.

11/27/2012
Irving, TX
Brittany H.
Bradley/Nimitz
Telling people that they can not swear in public does not violate the First Amendment. In fact, it should be law. We have freedom of speech yes, however there are proper ways of saying what we believe in. No one needs to use profanity to get their point across. There is no reason to have this way of speaking protected by any Amendment. We don't allow our children to run around saying inappropriate things. Why should we make it legal for people to say these things anywhere they want? Keep the fowl mouth at home and speak politely to all others in public.

11/26/2012
Porterville, CA
Weston
Smith/MHS
I personally think that swearing in public is a growing problem that should be dealt with. Don't get me wrong. Everyone curses. There is however, a time and place for everything. That being said, banning it does transgress the 1st amendment and should be repealed. How about citing these individuals that this law is targeting with loitering or disturbing the peace if it's so loud?

11/19/2012
Belleville,NY
Nichole
Colby/ BHCS
I think that this argument does violate freedom of speech. But I don't necessarily think people should curse in front of children in a public area. It's a matter of moral standards. I know that many people swear, but I've noticed that they often control themselves in front of certain groups of people, such as children. I think that whether a person can be fined for public profanity should depend on the situation in which the individual cursed. Again it often depends on the morals of the individual.

11/19/2012
Belleville, NY
Rebecca
Colby/Belleville Henderson Central School
Cursing doesn't bother me because I do it, every now and than. Every person does curse. No matter how loud it is, people have the freedom of speech. If you want to curse at me go ahead, but I will do it back. If it's towards my friends, they can stick up for themselves. I think making a law to prohibit cursing, does violate the First Amendment because it's freedom of speech. I strongly think and believe you should be able to say what you want and talk how you want. If you prohibit cursing, you will have a rebellion because in fact it does violate the First Amendment!

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