A teacher has penalised students in America after one person said “God Bless You” when a classmate sneezed.
Steven Cuckovich took points off students’ grades after the common courtesy was said but he has faced a backlash.
The school, in California, has said it does not condone that sort of punishment.
Mr Cuckovich claims the phrase no longer makes sense.
He told an American news channel, “in the old days, they thought you were dispelling evil spirits out of your body”.
He added: “So they were saying, ‘God bless you’ for getting rid of the evil spirits.
“But today, I said really what you’re doing doesn’t make any sense any more.”
One parent said the teacher’s move was “ridiculous” and commented that people should not “impose” their beliefs on schoolchildren.
Student Erica Fagan said in her class Mr Cuckovich took 25 points from everyone’s grades because one person said “bless you” after a sneeze.
Following complaints, the school district looked into the matter.
School district superintendent Dr John Niederkorn said: “The teacher believed that students were dramatically sneezing and responding in repetitive fashion [saying] ‘Bless you’. We are reviewing the impact of this disruption and the student grading policy.
“Certainly a blessing by one individual to another after a sneeze is a welcomed acknowledgement of a social norm. Hopefully it is not abused as a disruption of classroom instructional activities.”
Mr Cuckovich has said he will no longer dock points from students over the issue.