Teacher’s Fine Reduced for Saying ‘Coño’
A high school history teacher in Washington Heights was fined $1,000 for using a Spanish swear word last year during one of his classes, El Diario reports. But the fine is a steep reduction from what a court had originally ordered that Carlos Garcia pay — $15,000 — for using the word ‘coño’ in front of pupils.
‘Coño’ originally meant something close to the English equivalent of “cunt,” but has generally come to mean “damn it,” in modern parlance.
“The punishment was disproportionate,” a Supreme Court judge said in reducing the fine.
Garcia was suspended from his duties at the High School of International Business and Finance for several months of 2010, after students complained that he used the word ‘coño’ repeatedly — sometimes in front of a disorderly class, El Diario notes.
Garcia denied the charges and told the jury that the word was misinterpreted.
The prof’s lawyer said that the court’s translator treated the word ‘coño’ as “cunt,” when its real meanings are more varied.
“There are different definitions in Latin American culture — including among Hispanics themselves — for which context plays a big role,” Sergio Villaverde, Garcia’s lawyer, told reporters.
“The educational system is confusing flies with hammers,” he said.
Garcia, who has taught for 17 years, now works in another school. “He is ready to close this chapter of his life,” Villaverde said.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on April 27, 2011