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L.A. County shoots for a week without $#&*@!

March 2, 2009 | 11:30 am

McKay Hatch, 14, a 9th grader at South Pasadena High School, started a no cussing club at his school, back in October of 2007. South Pasadena has declared March 3 thru March 7, 2008, don't cuss week. Hatch was photographed at South Pasadena High School on March 5, 2008. Can Los Angeles County residents go a week without cussing?

At least one county supervisor thinks so. Supervisor Michael Antonovich is set to proclaim this week No Cussing Week on Tuesday, following the example of sandy-haired soccer player McKay Hatch, 14, who has become something of a media darling since he started his No Cussing Club at South Pasadena Middle School two years ago.

"A lot of kids at my school, and some of my friends, would cuss and use dirty language all the time. They did it so much, they didn't even realize they were doing it. It bothered me so much that one day I challenged them to stop!" McKay wrote on his website.

"They were shocked. They didn't know that it was bothering me. They didn't even realize how much they were doing it until I said something. I was actually surprised at how they reacted; they accepted my No Cussing Challenge. But some of the kids said they didn't know how to stop. That's when I started the No Cussing Club."

Within a month, the club had 50 members and soon grew to include 30,000 members in every state and 30 countries, including Argentina, France and the United Kingdom, where swearing is often considered an art.

McKay has since appeared on "The Tonight Show," "Fox News," "Good Morning America" and "Dr. Phil."

Those who accept the challenge, which can vary from one week to a year, agree not to "cuss, swear, use bad language or tell dirty jokes. Clean language is a sign of intelligence and always demands respect. I will use my language to uplift, encourage and motivate. I will Leave People Better Than I Found Them!"

"Through the ‘No Cussing Challenge,’ we see the power of positive peer pressure among all people and how saying ‘No’ to cussing is a motivating factor, one that has made it easier for some to say ‘No’ to drugs and violence," Antonovich wrote in his motion supporting No Cussing Week and commending McKay for "being a positive role model and encouraging the use of clean language."

But can all of Los Angeles County (and particularly those caught in rush-hour traffic) follow McKay’s lead? And what happens to those who slip when they, say, stub their toe?

No worries -- Antonovich has no interest in ticketing the foul-mouthed. "It’s not enforceable," said Antonovich spokesman Tony Bell. "It’s like Breast Cancer Awareness Week. We want to remind people about their choice of words. Use different language -- be kind; be civil."

-- Molly Hennessy-Fiske

McKay Hatch, 14, a 9th grader at South Pasadena High School, started a no cussing club at his school, back in October of 2007. South Pasadena has declared March 3 thru March 7, 2008, don't cuss week. Hatch was photographed at South Pasadena High School on March 5, 2008.

Credit: Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times

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