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Monday, December 5, 2016

Warning: This column contains language some readers may find unsuitable for children. Parental guidance is suggested.

No, seriously, you have been warned. This is your last chance. Turn back now.

Still here? OK, fine. Don’t say you weren’t told. Here’s one of the offensive words:

“Dinosaur.”

And another:

“Birthday.”

And another:

“Pepperoni.”

And yes, yet another:

“Dancing.”

Let’s stop there before you have to fan away the vapors and break out the smelling salts. Or maybe you don’t find those words offensive. Maybe you use such language around kids all the time. Well, that tells us something about you.

It tells us you are not a member of the New York City Department of Education. It seems the department has sent to companies bidding to revamp the city’s standardized tests a list of words and topics they do not want those tests to contain. The reason: Those words and topics might make children uncomfortable. Or as a spokeswoman for the education department told the New York Post, which broke the story last week, banning those words “allows our students to complete practice exams without distraction.”

So how are those words a “distraction?” Well, let’s look at the list.