I'm not sure I get this; how was the boy eating? what is this filipino eating habbit that is aparently so pig-like??
The way seven-year-old Montreal student Luc Cagadoc eats his lunch has led to an international protest.
Young Montreal student Luc Cagadoc says he eats as Filipinos traditionally do. (CBC)
Luc used to eat his lunch at his school with a fork and spoon, until one day his teacher told him it was wrong.
According to Luc, the way she said it wasn't nice. "She said, I'm disgusting, I'm a pig, I'm a clown by the way I'm eating," said the young Montrealer.
Luc says he was punished and moved to another table away from his friends for eating the way Filipinos have traditionally eaten.
Luc's mother, Maria Theresa Gallardo, says her son "was traumatized. He was emotionally hurt inside."
Gallardo, an early childhood educator herself, said Luc had always been a good student. Now, he doesn't want to go to school and comes home for lunch every day.
Gallardo said she tried to get help from the school principal, but was told Luc should adjust to the Canadian way of eating. "'Every time your son eats like a pig, he'll be disciplined,'" Gallardo says she was told.
Food fight sparks protest
The school board put out a news release saying it's a disciplinary and etiquette problem, not a cultural one. The board said it hopes to settle the matter between administrators, the school and the family.
But things have moved way beyond that.
For days the story has been making headlines in the Philippines, and on Friday it sparked a protest outside the Canadian Embassy in Manila.
The Philippines' ambassador to Canada has written a stern letter saying he considers the school board's action an affront to the Filipino culture.
Anti-racism groups say it's time Quebec schools start educating the educators about cultural sensitivity.
Gallardo says she will file a complaint with the Quebec Human Rights Commission on Monday.
Fo Niemi, executive director of the Centre for Research-Action on Race Relations, says the issue is an important one.
"Basically school discipline can discriminate, unintentionally, in terms of its impact on the children, especially children from immigrant or racial minorities."