We all heard it when we were children: ‘Don’t waste food.’ A ten-year old California student learned that lesson all too well when his teacher punished him for wasting food by forcing him to eat a sandwich out of the trash.
While some school systems are happy to waste food by throwing away students’ lunches for them, an Alcott Elementary School teacher is so against such an action that she stopped ten-year old Gilbert Lopez after he threw away a sandwich and headed to recess. The ten-year old was forced to return to the trash can, retrieve the sandwich, and eat it in front of his laughing peers. “It made me feel sad, because a lot of people were watching me and they laughed,” Lopez said, “I felt disgusted.”
The 5th grade teacher, whose identity is protected at this point, and the school superintendent defended the teacher’s actions by explaining that she didn’t want the boy to waste food in a statement released shortly after the teacher received her non-punishment.
[box type=”shadow”]“[Lopez] was made to retrieve the meal and eat as so not to waste it. The teacher has been placed on administrative leave while the matter is being further investigated.”[/box]
There you have it. This wasn’t an attempt to humiliate a child for no better reason than to feed ones own undeserved sense of superiority: this was about being wasteful.
Gilbert’s mother, Elena Ramirez, was told by the unnamed 5th grade teacher that her son was forced to take food back out of the trash can and consume it because she thought he was still hungry.
Another student reported the teacher’s actions to the principal because the ten-year old victim was too embarrassed to tell anyone.
Wasteful or not, Ramirez disagrees with the teacher’s actions. “I would never expect anybody to eat anything out of the garbage, let alone my son,” she said. “To me she used her authority to take advantage of somebody who listened.” Ramirez said her son was simply attempting to use the period to be a kid, and play.