North Carolina Teachers Told to Say 'Please' as Little as Possible

Though many young kids are taught "please" is "the magic word," one school in Charlotte, North Carolina, actually asks its teachers to use the word as little as possible.

The practice is part of Druid Hills Academy's newly implemented "No-Nonsense Nurturing Program."

No-nonsense nurturing is used by over 250 schools across the United States, according to Denise Watts, the learning community superintendent for Project LIFT, which oversees nine schools -- including Druid Hills Academy -- in the Charlotte-Mecklenberg School district.

The program aims to create a structured and consistent environment for students where teachers give them clear and specific directions about movement, volume and participation, Watts said.

"When a teacher is giving an expectation, the word please is not necessary," Watts told ABC News. "The best analogy I can use to describe my thinking about it is no one would say, 'Would you come to work today, please?'"

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Watts added that no-nonsense nurturing is a “culture” in which teachers and school administrators create conditions to help students thrive by giving very specific directions, holding high expectations of students and, thus, building strong relationships with the students.

Though some teachers received "pushback" from students over the program at first, many students now love the program, according to Jonnecia Alford, a mathematics teacher at Druid Hills Academy.

"The students enjoy it," Alford told ABC News. "They enjoy the structure. They enjoy knowing exactly what you ask them to do. They also really enjoy the part where they get to build relationships with their teachers."

The math teacher added that since using no-nonsense nurturing, her students' test scores have increased and she now has 100 percent student participation.

"I have really strong relationships with my students," Alford said. "They typically say, 'We love Ms. Alford, but she doesn’t play. She has high expectations for us. She doesn’t let us get away with anything, but we love her.'"

But parents of kids at the school have mixed feelings about the new program and its advice to teachers to use the word please "sparingly.”

"I don’t agree with it point blank, period," parent Daren Guilford told ABC News. "What about manners? You ask us as parents to teach kids manners at home and you tell them to say 'please,' 'yes, ma'am,' 'yes, sir,' 'thank you, ma'am,' 'thank you, sir' and then you come to school and it's, 'You will pick the pencil up.' I mean, that’s not what I would call good communication skills with the kid."

Another parent, Jamal Gibbs, told ABC News the program "might be a good thing, considering that some kids need more stricter directions."

"Some kids don’t listen very well to politeness because of the things they’re going through in their homes, around where they live and where they’re growing up," Gibbs said.

Perhaps parents should wait to see how effective it is first, he added, "before we knock it."

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