Eleven year old Luc Cagadoc was reprimanded for his eating habits in Montreal, Canada. Was he eating with his hands? Was he playing with his food? Nope. He was eating with a fork and a spoon at the same time (gasp!).
The issue started back in April of 2006. Martine Bertrand, Luc’s lunch monitor, told the boy that his habit of eating with a fork and a spoon was disgusting (harsh much?). Luc’s mother approached the lunch monitor about the incident, explaining that the eating habit was a tradition in the Filipino community. Bertrand, however, would not budge on the issue.
So, Maria Gallardo (Luc’s mother) decided to take the issue to the school’s principle, Normand Bergeron. He also dismissed her concern and told her that her son needed to learn how to eat like other Canadians.
One day when Luc forgot to wash his hands before eating, Betrand asked the boy if washing hands was a common practice in his country (how rude!). When Mrs. Gallardo tried to address the issue once again to the school, the school board sent her a letter telling her to not come to the school again. Gallardo decided to escalate the issue and turned to Quebec’s Human Rights Commission. Oh snap! It’s serious business now.
Their case was intially dismissed by the tribunal stating that Luc was disciplined for clowning around rather than for his eating habits. However, Luc’s family was persistant and did not give up until the tribunal decided to hear the case.
The tribunal ruled that the school board and school handled the situation poorly and must pay in total $17,000 for damages towards the boy. The tribunal’s president wrote, “The situation led Luc to feel shame towards his ethnic origin and left him facing social exclusion and suffering from nervousness and insomnia.”
Luc is currently attending a new school and is “just living an ordinary kid’s life.” (Yay!)