VACAVILLE, CA - When Taylor McGinley sneezed in her health class at Will C. Wood High School a few weeks ago a student replied with "God bless you," but it's what teacher Steven Cuckovich said after the sneeze that now has students questioning the teacher's agenda.
"(Cuckovich) said, 'Do you think that girl is evil, do you think the evil spirits are coming out of her?' And the guy that said 'bless you' was like 'No, I was just doing what I was supposed to do when somebody sneezes, not trying to be rude,'" Taylor said, referring to the incident.
McGinley said Cuckovich never mentioned or referred to the expression again, but in Erica Fagan's class Cuckovich is deducting points from students' grades if someone said "bless you."
"The first time (the student) did it (Cuckovich) took 25 points off of everybody in the class's grade for one person saying it and then somebody did it the next day and he did it again," Fagan said.
According to Fagan, Cuckovich told the students sneezing and saying "bless you" is a distraction and takes time out of learning.
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Erica's mother Vickie Fagan tried to call and email school administrators, but could not get any answers.
"I can see where teenagers can be disruptive. It's not something unknown," Vickie Fagan said. "The specific saying 'If you guys are being noisy and talking out of turn I can see, but when he says 'When you say, God, bless you,' and he's using that specific terminology to say, 'I'm docking you points,' that concerns me."
The students said the sneezing issue is not mentioned in the class syllabus. The health class is a one-semester course that is required for graduation.
"It's just frustrating," McGinley said.
News10 attempted to get a comment from school officials, but was directed to the district office and superintendent.
School district officials said they would not be available to speak on the subject until Thursday.