Dinosaurs, birthdays not allowed on tests 0
Schools in New York City are no longer allowed to use the words dinosaurs, birthdays, dancing or Halloween on city-issued tests because the words "could evoke unpleasant emotions in students."
The words terrorism and slavery are also deemed too scary, the New York Post reported Monday.
Also banned are any references to diseases or divorces, because students may have an ill friend or relative, or family members who have separated.
"This is standard language that has been used by test publishers for many years and allows our students to complete practice exams without distraction," a department of education spokeswoman told the newspaper.
She insisted it's not censorship, but rather sensitivity guidelines.
The forbidden words and topics were recently part of a request for proposals by the school board to revamp city-wide testing.
"Some of these topics may be perfectly acceptable in other contexts but do not belong in a city- or state-wide assessment," the request read.
Words about wealth are banned because they could make students jealous, while poverty is also not allowed.
"The intent is to avoid giving offence or disadvantage any test takers by privileging prior knowledge," Robert Pondiscio, a spokesman for the education group Core Knowledge Foundation, told the newspaper. "But the irony is they're eliminating some subjects, like junk food, holidays and popular music, that the broadest number of kids are likely to know quite a lot about."