A British school teaches children offensive words to “help” them discern.

Once upon a time, schoolchildren were punished for swearing, but in Britain’s modern classrooms where pupils call teachers by their first name they are actually taught swear words in order for them to learn when it is “ok” to use an expletive. Or, as a school official put it, to help them understand “what kind of language is appropriate, at what times and in what context”.

Parents complained when children in a school in Yorkshire were given a list of offensive words, including four-letter expletives, and asked to grade them in the context of a series of hypothetical situations in which they could be used. They were told to rate them as “always ok”, “sometimes ok”, “depends”, or “never ok”.

One woman, whose daughter brought the worksheet home, was shocked.

“It is giving children a licence to swear,” she said after her daughter recounted how “the kids were going mad in the class, shouting out the swear words”.

The Campaign for Courtesy group called it “appalling” and “an extraordinary thing for a school to do”.

“Someone should have said, ‘Hang on a minute, do you think it is wise to print these words and circulate them?’”, its chairman Peter Foot told The Daily Telegraph.

The school defended the move saying the lesson was “part of our social responsibility” and was meant to help students understand “what is, and what is not, acceptable language in specific contexts”.