In my experience with school, it goes badly if one tells on another student, in general. It isn´t supposed to be that way, but that´s the reality.
Instead of being upset with the people breaking the rules, they will be more upset with you, for reporting them. That´s my experience, anyway.
I wouldn´t report them, and I wouldn´t tell them to stop using bad words, either.
I would leave them alone. If they want to use bad words, they know it´s wrong. They know what they are doing. They have already heard that speech, hundreds of times from parents, teachers, classmates, but don´t want to stop.
I´ve found it almost goes easier, when trying to change someone, to accept them, first, in all irony.
I´m trying to give you one example. Okay. I am overweight. If someone were to come up to me and tell me, “Hey, you´re overweight and should lose weight” or send me weightloss e-mails, it probably would not only not help, but make me feel even worse. I’d run even faster to the refrigerator, because I would feel I wasn´t accepted.
People who have helped me most accepted me, weight and all, and sometimes later, in all irony, because they accepted me, sometimes…on my own, with it being MY idea, I would lose weight.
This happened, as well, with my faith. For about 10 years, I left the Church. During that time, my mother, and others, would try to nag me to get me to return. They didn´t seem to try to understand my perspective, where I was coming from, WHY I had left. Had they done that, it might have been different.
Some seemed to come across to me, at that time, almost as “holier than thou”, and I felt that almost none of them understood me, or really cared.
Then, I had 3 friends. Due to their good example, alone, I saw their faith and spirituality, and on my own, came back to the church. Had they nagged me, criticized me, I am quite certain I would never have ever returned.
People who use a lot of bad language often come from really bad backgrounds where that language is basically “normal”. Often, the parents talk that way…father, mother, kids, siblings, relatives.
Sometimes, these very same people are from abusive homes. This is in no way to condone this behavior, but I just feel it helps, to first, understand.
If I were to try to talk to any of them about their language, I would do it more as a friend, than quoting a rulebook. I would use humor, make a joke out of it. I’ve sometimes said, “Now don´t you be talking like a caveman!”
Often, instead of being offended, they will laugh, get the point. Or, I´ve sometimes said, “Language, gentlemen…a lady is present!” It often gives them a laugh, and usually they will stop cussing, be more respectful.
Sometimes, they don´t even mean to say some of this. For some, after a while, it becomes a habit. Some have to go to great lengths to stop swearing, for instance. I remember an episode of the Simpsons where they wanted Homer to stop cussing, and they had a “swear jar”, that every time he swore, he had to put money in it.
He got so good at not swearing as a result, that once, he stepped on a nail, and said something like, “My goodness!” lol
We had a similar system in English as a Second Language. The teachers would sometimes have students pay one person each time they spoke in English, at the end of the year, buy a pizza!
In a school I went to in order to learn Spanish, they would actually punish us each time we spoke in English. They, too, used humor. It they caught us speaking in English, they would have us do something REALLY humiliating, like put a cookie in a classmate´s mouth and have to eat the cookie from this other person´s mouth.
One lady had to make the figure 8 with her body. She was overweight, and also made a joke of it, did a figure 8, moving up and down.
If you want to help your classmates not swear or use bad language, reporting them would be the last way. They will blame you, not themselves…so I´d try something else.
Ironically, try accepting and understanding them, first.
I used to want to report people in class but generally didn´t. Once, I reported a busdriver for letting kids smoke and use marijuana on the school bus, and he came in and said, “someone squealed!” They blamed me, and the teens made my life a living hell for the rest of the semester.
I had a tack on my chair one time. People came up to me who never even knew me.
I actually didn´t, myself, report it. I asked my mother what marijuana smelled like, and she wanted to know why I wanted to know. I begged her not to report it, due to fear of reprisals. I think, in the end, the reprisals, were worse than the marijuana. In retrospect, it would have probably been better for me to go to school high than have gone through that level of persecution, because I think I basically ended up having a nervous breakdown.
I avoid reporting them unless it is absolutely necessary, in part due to repercussions and reprisals. Also, because that way of trying to change people rarely works.
What´s done is done, so let it go, but it´s just my personal experience that handling this another way next time around would be more effective. Some people also use bad language for attention. If you ignore them, it doesn´t give them attention, can work better.
Guilt is not a very positive emotion. If one even were to make a mistake, try, insofar as possible, not to feel guilty, just to learn for next time, since guilt is not helpful be it this incident or any other.
Good luck, and God speed!