Update: Professor removes ‘bless you’ ban from syllabus

Dr. Leon Gardner informed his students that he does not tolerate “disruptive behavior” like saying “bless you” after someone sneezes.

After receiving national backlash, Professor Gardner has removed the 'bless you' ban.

A professor at the College of Coastal Georgia has reversed his in-class policy banning students from saying “bless you” after receiving national backlash.

Last week Campus Reform first reported that Dr. Leon Gardner, assistant professor of chemistry at the school, informed his students in his syllabus that he does not tolerate “disruptive behavior” which, according to him, included saying “bless you” after someone sneezes.

“We are taught that it is polite to say ‘bless you’ when someone sneezes. However, if you say this while I am talking, it is NOT polite, it is very rude,” Gardner’s syllabus exclusively provided to Campus Reform stated.

However, after national outrage, Gardner has apparently rescinded that rule.

“The professor’s intent was to explain that disruptive behavior is not allowed in the classroom,” the College of Coastal Georgia said in a statement emailed to Campus Reform. “The professor, who used other examples such as turning off cell phones prior to class and not arriving late, has removed the example and stated that no student has been disciplined or expelled from his class based on that example.”

The original syllabus stated that saying “bless you,” interrupting class time for handouts, and sharpening pencils were the most egregious disruptions and could warrant an automatic one percent reduction from students’ final grades.

Gardner refused to comment on his syllabus when called by Campus Reform.

The college also said that it is conducting an internal review.

Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @K_Schallhorn