School won't apologize in Filipino fork dispute
Efforts seem to be failing to resolve a dispute between a Montreal school board and parents whose son was allegedly reprimanded for eating his lunch in the traditional Filipino way.
After Luc Cagadoc, 7, alleged two months ago that he had been chastised for eating his lunch with a fork and a spoon, his family became upset and Montreal's Filipino community rallied around them.
The family was considering following advice from the Quebec Human Rights Commission to go to mediation instead of following through on a formal complaint.
But on Monday, it emerged that they are considering abandoning mediation, while the Filipino Canadian Association has walked away from talks with the school board, Commission Scolaire Marguerite-Bourgeoys.
The talks were going nowhere, said the head of the Filipino Canadian Association, Marlene Birao-Schatcher.
"There is no sense of talking and talking and explaining what we want because they don't listen," she said.
The Commission Scolaire Marguerite-Bourgeoys, which operates the school where Cagadoc studies, had sent a letter to the boy's parents in May.
It said an "educational intervention" on April 12 was "in no way aimed at the cultural practices of your community. 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."
The Filipino association had been holding meetings with school officials in hopes of getting an apology.
But last week, the school board issued a statement repeating its original position that the whole affair was just a misunderstanding.
"We are not sure that going ahead with the mediation would lead to anything, if the school doesn't seem to get it," said Fo Niemi, who is representing the family before the Human Rights Commission.
The school board refused CBC's requests for an interview. But in its statement, the board said its staff respect all cultures and added that it doesn't believe this is a case of discrimination.