Teacher Forces 5-Year-Old to Eat Out of Garbage

garbageKids go to school and end up coming home with all kinds of stories. Thankfully, so far, my kids just talk about the pretzels they eat. Strange, yes, but at least they aren't beating up teachers or being forced to eat bagels out of the garbage. Yet.

Kandice Harris, however, got quite an earful from her 5-year-old daughter Ke’Nya. The kindergartner told her mom that her teacher at Deerfield Township Elementary School in New Jersey forced her to eat a bagel from the trash. Harris has filed a report with the police and I don't blame her. No child should be forced to eat anything ... especially something from the garbage. But Harris thinks something more is going on.


She believes race may have been a factor. She said, "We’re a low-income black family. Most of the people who attend the school are white." Ke'Nya's lunch is subsidized and therefore free.

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"She’s very upset and humiliated," Harris told the South Jersey Times. "Ke’Nya said she didn’t like the bagel, so she threw it away. She said her teacher then took the bagel out of the trash and told her she had to eat it in front of all the kids."

Forced eating in front of her peers? Potentially race/economic status related? This story just got even worse. I feel terrible for the child.

We do know this much is true. Kandice went to the school’s superintendent first and the teacher confirmed the incident. Harris alleges that the teacher refused to apologize until she threatened a police report and going public with the story. It was also reported that there was only paper in the trash can, but I still feel if the child didn't want to eat it, no one should force her.

The police feel it's a school matter, not a criminal one. The school is looking into the incident more thoroughly. Harris hired a lawyer and the state Division of Child Protection and Permanency has been made aware of the case. But the damage is done. Ke'Nya was humiliated in front of her classmates -- that is wrong and the teacher should have known better.

What do you think of this story? Do you think more action needs to be taken against the teacher?


Image via juliejordanscott/Flickr

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