A six year old autistic boy was removed from class at a Calgary Board of Education school to eat his snack of banana bread alone after, according to his mom, the teacher said it wasn’t healthy enough.
To her credit, the little boy’s mom says she’s refusing to back down on the principle of providing school snacks of her own choosing and will send her son to a new school after the Easter break.
Education Minister David Eggen had this to say:
“While it is important to ensure our students learn about healthy meal and snack choices, Alberta Education aims to ensure all students are safe, welcome and cared for while at school,”
Missing from Eggen’s statement was any condemnation of how this little boy was treated, choosing instead to serve up a big old bowl of word salad.
I thought Eggen stood firmly against bullying? And make no mistake, what happened here is bullying at least according to what’s on Alberta Education’s own website.
Bullying is a repeated and hostile or demeaning behaviour intended to cause harm, fear or distress, including psychological harm or harm to a person's reputation. It often involves an imbalance of social or physical power.
Alberta Education also describes bullying behaviours as “Grouping together with some individuals and intentionally leaving others out (e.g., isolating, shunning)”
Sticking a little boy in the hallway because his mom sent him a contraband baked snack she knows he will eat and that she probably baked herself is excluding him, isolating and shunning him.
It’s bullying by the education minister’s definition. These people make the rules, so would it kill them to live by the rules they make?
Besides, what’s worse? Homemade banana bread or making homemade banana bread one of the worst memories of your childhood, and maybe giving a kid who already faces some challenges at school an unhealthy relationship with food?
Maybe the education system should worry less about the granola bars we send to school with our kids and get the kids moving again by bringing back daily gym class - if this were really about kids health at all.