The New York State Department of Education syllabus says that a teacher instructing students about STDs and sex should encourage children to use words they understand. "If students use different terms," the syllabus says, "make sure they understand the relationship between both sets of terms." So during a class on HIV one day in 2008, Staten Island health teacher Faith Kramer did just that, writing down the clinical words for sexual organs, sexual acts and bodily fluids on the chalkboard, then asking the eighth grade students what language they used to talk about such matters. That's when the trouble started.

According to the Post, the students called out words like "furburger" and "schmeckle" and "blow job." (The Times reports that there were "two Yiddishisms for the male sexual organ," so we're guessing "schlong"? Or "putz"?) Some of the students transcribed the list of sex slang into their notebooks, and at least one parent called the school to complain. The next day Kramer, a 26-year veteran, was sent to the rubber room for four months. She was eventually reinstated, and while no formal charges were brought, the DOE ruled that Kramer violated a regulation prohibiting discipline "by use of language that tends to cause fear, physical or mental distress."

Kramer's now suing the city for a million dollars in damages for mental anguish, lawyer’s fees and the loss of extra after-school work. (The disciplinary action prevents her from making extra money grading standardized tests or monitoring after school activities.) Yesterday she won the first battle in her lawsuit when Federal Judge Jack B. Weinstein overruled the city's motion to dismiss the case.

In the ruling [pdf], Weinstein writes, "If the [Education Department] wants its teachers to instruct adolescents about HIV using Latinism of the academy, excluding vulgarism of the street, it should tell them so." He also pointed out that judge pointed out that many of the naughty words are in the Oxford English Dictionary, and even expressed admiration for Kramer, writing, "To a senior judge, father and grandfather, educated in the New York City public schools, there appears to be no more daunting undertaking than discussing sex and HIV/AIDS with a class of female and male thirteen- and fourteen-year-old eight grade students." Seriously, Kramer should get a million dollars just for toughing it out for over 25 years.