GRAHAM, N.C. (WGHP) — The Alamance-Burlington School System is investigating after a teacher reportedly gave students an assignment involving the etymology of “swear words.”

Graham Middle School Principal Clifton Thomas recently discussed with students concerns over profane language, according to Les Atkins, a spokesperson for ABSS. A teacher, then, without the school district’s knowledge or approval, gave students an assignment that involved studying the history, definition and origin of “swear words.”

The school system shared a portion of the assignment with FOX8.

“In response to the over use of swear words in our classroom and Mr. Thomas’ email, we are going to learn the etymology of swear words,” the assignment reads. “It is important to know the meaning and origin of the words we use.”

Photo shows portion of student assignment on “etymology of swear words.” (Courtesy of Alamance-Burlington School System)

The school system says district officials did not know about the assignment and do not condone it.

On Tuesday, the school district issued a statement, explaining that the school is investigating and that school officials personally contacted the families of each student in the class to apologize.

The district’s full statement is included below.

“We became aware today of a language assignment that was given to about 20 students at Graham Middle that we deem inappropriate because it contained some vulgar language.

“The District is currently investigating the matter and will address as appropriate.

“Please know that this in no way represents the views or core beliefs of ABSS. We are committed to the success of all our students and expect all staff members to uphold that commitment each and every day.

“Although this assignment impacted a small number of students, we felt it was necessary to personally call each of their families to discuss and apologize. 

Our goal is to always maintain a positive and transparent relationship with our families here in ABSS.”  

As of early Tuesday evening, the teacher is still working for the school district.