Thursday, May 06, 2010

School must not educate foreign child about expected Western manners

The kid needed to hear that his manners would be perceived as "eating like a pig"
"In April, 2006, Luc Cagadoc, then a seven-year-old Filipino boy, was allegedly told by a lunch-room monitor at his Montreal elementary school that he ate “like a pig” and was ordered to sit at a table by himself.

The boy ate with a fork and spoon, in the Filipino tradition, and his slurping noises, as well as the spilling of food, disturbed the other kids.

In any case, Maria-Theresa Gallardo, the mother of the boy, was furious when her son reported the incident. She argued that eating with a fork and spoon was an integral part of the Filipino cultural identity and that any attempt to force her child to use another set of cutlery amounted to discrimination, if not racism.

However, in Quebec, under certain circumstances, people can apply directly to the Human Rights Tribunal, even if the commission previously rejected their complaint. And so the tribunal agreed to hear the Cagadoc family’s case, even though the evidence was murkier than what would have been deemed acceptable by a small-claims court. Last week, that tribunal ruled against the school board, arguing the boy had been discriminated against because of his ethnicity.

Ms. Gallardo had asked for $24,000 in damages, but she’s satisfied with the $17,000 award.



We The People said...

The Human Rights Gestapo's decision doesn't surprise me at all. Of course, in the real world, where justice rules, the woman would have been told that if her son's eating habits are so crucial to her, she should take them (and him) back to the Filipines. If you choose to live in a foreign country, you should abide by their standards, just as we would have to do if we moved to her country. If she doesn't like those standards, she should leave!

brother john said...

Of course whe is happy with the $17,000. Stolen money makes some people quite happy.

Anonymous said...

Proper eating manners are a must learn for children, no matter their cultural background. These manners can help leave an impression on people, and do help create opportunities by leaving an impression on people. If the kid can't make friends at lunch in elementary school because of his eating habits, he may have trouble networking and finding a job later on in life. What she chooses to allow her kid to do at home is one thing, but in public, she should try and have him learn to fit in a little bit, just enough to get along.

Anonymous said...

1st: The kid should not have been told he was eating like a pig; just told there are better ways to use a fork and spoon (he's a kid, and denigrating him the way the school lunchroom monitor in front of his peers was wrong). He didn't know better, and someone could have helped him understand why it was wrong.
2nd: The way he was eating is wrong. Just because it's right in the Philippines doesn't make it right anywhere else. Old adage: "When in Rome, do as the Romans do."
3rd: Ethnic issue? BS! The use of a fork and spoon, at the same time, is not common in the Philippines as good table manners the way the mother describes it. F@*king lazy a$$ liar.

Robert said...

Ah well, if the kid continues to eat like a pig, I'm sure it's only a matter of time before the other kids notice and start teasing him and taunting him over his table manners. He'll learn one way or another...

The Finn said...

I wonder what he was doing wrong. Eating with a fork and a spoon is very handy when the food served doesn't require cutting. If anything it should make it easier to eat without slurping. Just look at how Italians eat spaghetti and compare that to the sucking style popularized by Disney.

And I guess it goes without saying that there was no racism here. Discrimination maybe if it is not customary to punish children by making them sit alone but even that one is a stretch.

Anonymous said...

The worse thing with this story is that they paid her off.

Anonymous said...

"He didn't know better, and someone could have helped him understand why it was wrong."

You assume he'd never been told before that his behaviour was unacceptable.
I'm pretty certain he had been so told on numerous occasions, consistently refused, and someone finally snapped after weeks or months.

Teachers and school staff don't just insult pupils for the heck of it, you know?

Stan B said...

The insult was unnecessary and cruel, and the employee who made it should have been reprimanded and trained in a more sensitive approach.

That being said, both the mother and child need to be informed that eating styles in their host country are not the same as their home country, and if the child ever expects to succeed at anything other than ditch digger or human rights council member, he had better learn the proper use of eating utensils.

Of course, I may be wrong. The Ditch Digger's Union may have standards.....

Anonymous said...

So hypothetically speaking, what if it was culturally acceptable in a foreign country for a male (child or adult) to slap or hit a female (child or adult) when he did not agree with what she said? Would THAT also be considered behavior that we must accept as acceptable?

My point is that sadly, in my opinion, we have transformed from a country where the focus of immigration was assimilate people so that they would "become American" into a country where diversity must be maintained to such a high degree, despite how it affects its citizens.

Anonymous said...

"So hypothetically speaking, what if it was culturally acceptable in a foreign country for a male (child or adult) to slap or hit a female (child or adult) when he did not agree with what she said? Would THAT also be considered behavior that we must accept as acceptable?"

A similar question came up here a few years ago when a Sikh boy was told by his school to not wear his dagger to classes.
The school bans any weapons on pupils, and on top of that the weapon worn was banned under our rather draconian weapons laws (which ban any blade >10cm from being carried in public).

The boy's parents filed charges for religious discrimination against the school, the city, and the country for banning their religious symbolism and the court decided that indeed they should be allowed to break the law because their religion tells them to.

So far this defense has not worked in cases of Muslims murdering nonbelievers or women who don't let themselves be married off to their grandfather, but that's probably only a matter of time.

Anonymous said...

This is where "religion" becomes dangerous. On the one hand it should expect freedom of thought and expression, and then it goes on to demand social "behavior" that uses intimidation, or even extreme violence. It's not only Muslims but so-called Christian activists who ferment social aggression all in the name of their "faith".