Last updated May 5 2006 05:39 PM EDT
Protesters display spoon and forks with protest messages as they picket the Canadian Embassy at the financial district of Makati city, east of Manila, Philippines, Friday, May 5, 2006 in indignation over the plight of a Filipino school boy in Montreal, Canada who was allegedly reprimanded repeatedly by school officials for eating with spoon and fork. The incident drew protests even from Philippine embassy officials with the protesters calling the treatment as 'tantamount to an affront to Filipino culture.' (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)
A disciplinary incident at an elementary school on Montreal's West Island is making headlines in the Philippines.
Last month, a teacher in Roxboro reprimanded a Grade 2 boy for using a fork and spoon to eat his lunch, instead of a fork and knife. Luc Cagadoc, 7, is from the Philippines, and his mother argues that's the way people eat there. Philippine protesters picketed the Canadian Embassy in Manila Friday in support of the Filipino boy. About a dozen people held up placards that read, "Respect cultural diversity" and "We eat with spoons and are proud of it." Officials with École Lalande as well as the Commission Scolaire Marguerite-Bourgeoys say the teacher had a right to reprimand the student for fooling around.
The Commission Scolaire Marguerite-Bourgeoys, which operates the school where Cagadoc studies, sent a letter to his parents last month saying an April 12 "educational intervention" was "in no way aimed at the cultural practices of your community.School officials, for their part, contend the punishment – Cagadoc was separated from his classmates and made to eat alone – had to do with disruptive behaviour, not slovenly eating. It was very specifically linked to the way your son was ingesting his meal that day and in no way to the method or utensils used to bring his food to his mouth." According to family lawyer Fo Niemi, the executive director of the Center for Research Action on Race Relations, his mother was told by the school's principal during a telephone call that "this is not the way Canadians eat; you have to adapt to Quebec society." School officials also allegedly called Cagadoc's eating habits "disgusting."
More news articles from Asian Journal, Manila Standard Today, Sun Star Philippines.