Friday, May 12, 2006

School Board's Letter on "Uproar Over Spoon and Fork"

As a follow-up on my blog entry on "School Punishes Filipino Table Etiquette", this entry is lifted from BALITA U.S.A. egroup email from Perry Diaz about "Filipino Mom To Ask For Public Apology". I am helping in disseminating this manifesto *wink:

Dear Readers,

The outcry against the maltreatment of Luc Cagadoc has been overwhelming. As a result, the school board's Executive Director and Assistant Executive Director have issued a letter to students, parents and citizens. The school sent me a facsimile of the letter. I could not cut and paste the letter; however, I am retyping it below for your perusal.

To Students, Parents and Citizens,

The Commission scolaire Marguerite-Bourgeoys - CSMB - is writing this letter in order to reinsure its 45,000 students, their parents, and all the citizens within its territory that the School Board fully respects the culture, the customs and practices of all its constituents. In fact, the CSMB has representatives from no less than 197 different countries attending its 88 different schools. We are very proud of this diversity, which not only represents a source of awe, but also a challenge to ensure our harmonious cohabitation on a daily basis.

The CSMB would also like to use this space to support the principal, the staff and the school team of Lalande primary school in Pierrefonds/ Roxboro, who have been overwhelmed in the last few weeks by the turmoil caused by the way an educational intervention involving a student during the noon lunch hour was handled. Both the staff and the principal of the school felt and feel that they have been directly challenged and are hurt by the comments and the intentions that have been imputed against them.

The CSMB must also point out that the educational intervention in question was not aimed in any way at the practices of any cultural community. It was strictly limited to the way a child was consuming lunch on that particular day and had nothing to do with the way of eating or the utensils used.

The CSMB has invited the parents of the pupil to enter a dialogue to clarify the facts, the misunderstanding and the interpretations. It has wishes to intervene thoughtfully and soberly on this issue. It must first and foremost be remembered that the disclosure of any information regarding the students that have been entrusted to its charge my constitute a breach of confidentiality. Its overriding concern is to preserve a respectful educational link with the child and openness to dialogue with the parents.

We trust that this information will shed light on the issue and demonstrate to all our sincere concern.

Executive Director
(Signed) Pierre Jette

Assistant Executive Director - Pre-school Education
and Primary Grades (Network I).
(Signed) France Pilon

*** UNQUOTE ***

I encourage you to send an email to the principal, Mr. Normand Bergeron, at to demand for an apology to Luc Cagadoc....All the best, -Perry-



Ms. Bourgeoys,

I am a Filipino educator teaching in Washington DC and I understand the differences in our educational system and the teaching practices.

With all due respect, I would like to respond to this issue on the educator's point of view coming to you as a professional educator (not reacting on this issue personally).

Cliche as it may sound, the principal should really be practicing what he preaches. We teach the students the values code of honesty, respect of human rights, trust, dignity, cultural diversity...he should uphold these values code and impose the practice of it to everyone in the school community, students, parents, teachers, administrators, staff, personnel. We should all lead by example. These are UNIVERSAL VALUES and not bound by cultural differences.

"Both the staff and the principal of the school felt and feel that they have been directly challenged and are hurt by the comments and the intentions that have been imputed against them."

Does this sound like the principal and the staff responded to this professionally, like calling to have a conference with the parent to resolve the issue? Or does it sound like they took the issue personally and therefore retaliating and putting the blame on the child and his Filipino family?

I am in this profession because I believe we have the power to change a child's life: either to make his life miserable or successful. Are we on the same page?



Sonnie said...

After the initial uproar, I have not heard of any news yet the Luc and his family.

So the best that the school can offer is a dialogue?


Lorna said...

The furor over using the spoon and fork for eating inspired me to do a post that showed pictures of how Filipinos use these utensils to eat their food, and, hopefully proves that a different way of eating is just as effective and civilized as using a knife and fork. Let's celebrate diversity!

Oh, and, of course, I added a request at the end of the post for readers to email Mr. Bergeron to demand for an apology.

Promethean Planet


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