Well, from bad kid cop to kid do-gooder, in Southern California, a high school sophomore has been on a crusade to convince young people everywhere not to use swear words. Fifteen-year-old McKay Hatch, a sophomore at South Pasadena High School, started what he calls the No Cussing Club. His Web site, YouTube video, and media appearances have earned him fans around the world. As NPR's Mandalit Del Barco reports, he is also getting some foul mouth threats.

MANDALIT DEL BARCO: McKay Hatch is a skinny 15 year old with braces on his teeth. The middle of seven children, he plays soccer, rides a unicycle, and he says he likes Disney movies, the Beatles, the Beach Boys, and the Bee Gees. But there's one thing he doesn't like - cussing.

Mr. MCKAY HATCH (Founder, No Cussing Club): It just makes me feel really offended and stuff. It just doesn't make me feel good.

DEL BARCO: You have to know that McKay's parents are authors of a book entitled, "Raising a G-Rated Family in an X-Rated World." Profanity was frowned on at home. McKay says none of his friends in elementary school ever swore, either.

Mr. HATCH: But it seemed like when they got to middle school, everyone just started cussing - my friends, just everybody that I knew. The reason why it bothered me the most is because it was something they were using every other word, it was like, kind of like the word the. They kept using it and using it.

DEL BARCO: When he started high school last year, McKay screwed up his courage and asked his friends to stop cussing around him. He thought he'd be shunned, but surprisingly, they agreed. Then he started up a no-cussing club at South Pasadena High School. Ana Victoria Pumphrey, a 16-year-old member, says the goal is to discourage students from swearing.

Ms. ANA VICTORIA PUMPHREY (Member, No-Cussing Club): It's vulgar, and it provokes violence, and people who cuss hurt other people by saying it. It's a form of verbal abuse.

DEL BARCO: In his quest, McKay Hatch has issued a no-cussing challenge through his Web site, an upcoming book he has written, and a music video he posted on YouTube.

(Soundbite of YouTube video)

Mr. HATCH: (Rapping) Every other word was burning in my ears So I took a new stand, and I challenged all my peers If you want to hang with us, I don't want to hear you cuss. If you want to hang with us, I don't want to hear you cuss. Don't cuss. Don't cuss.

DEL BARCO: McKay says he knows it's not easy.

Mr. HATCH: So if someone slips up at school, you know, they're like aw(ph), dang it, why? You know, but it's just doing better and better so.

DEL BARCO: But dang is OK?

Mr. HATCH: Yeah, dang is OK.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. HATCH: You know, when you first try to stop cussing, you can't stop right away. You got to have the transition words or substitutes. You can use oh, pickles, sassafras, dang, darn, flip - just anything you can think of.

DEL BARCO: Pickles?

Mr. HATCH: Pickles.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. HATCH: Yeah.

DEL BARCO: The no-cussing club has gotten a lot of attention.

(Soundbite of "The Tonight Show")

Mr. JAY LENO (Host, "The Tonight Show"): From Pasadena, California, please welcome McKay Hatch. McKay, come on out.

(Soundbite of cheering)

DEL BARCO: One of his recent appearances was with Jay Leno on "The Tonight Show."

(Soundbite of "The Tonight Show")

Mr. LENO: So now, you've written a book.

Mr. HATCH: Yeah.

Mr. LENO: Which is - and how many people in your club now?

Mr. HATCH: Worldwide, we have about 30,000 members now worldwide.

Mr. LENO: Wow.

(Soundbite of cheering)

Mr. LENO: Wow. OK.

DEL BARCO: Those members, McKay's parents and teachers may be proud. But the squeaky-clean message also has sparked plenty of hate. McKay says some people go out of their way to curse him at school, on the Web, and on the phone. Not long ago, someone ordered $2,000 of pizza delivered to the Hatch's house.

(Soundbite of phone call)

Unidentified Man: Hi, Dominoes pizza calling back. Just to let you know that somebody is ordering, again, with your name on it.

DEL BARCO: And McKay has been the target of more than just pranks.

(Soundbite of phone call)

Unidentified Man: We're going to kill you.

DEL BARCO: This death threat has prompted local police and the FBI to get involved.

Mr. HATCH: Yeah, it's really scary because, you know, people are calling us - all night. Sometimes we have to unplug the phone. At first, you know, it was really kind of scary, but, you know, they're just bullies and they want you to be scared. And so I'm not going to let them win.

DEL BARCO: So McKay Hatch plans to continue expanding his club, writing books, and public speaking. He swears, though not in a bad way, that he's not trying to take away anyone's freedom of speech, he's just challenging them to come up with cleaner language.

Mr. HATCH: I'm not, you know, forcing anyone not to cuss, I'm just trying to, you know, a kid just trying to make a difference.

DEL BARCO: Mandalit Del Barco, NPR News.

(Soundbite of YouTube video)

Mr. HATCH: (Rapping) Don't cuss. Don't cuss. All across the nation, we'll start a new sensation. Don't cuss. Don't cuss. Let me...

NORRIS: You're listening to All Things Considered from NPR News.

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