Luc Cagadoc with his mother Maria-Theresa Gallardo in an undated photo.

QUEBEC — It was almost six years ago that seven-year-old Luc Cagadoc was reprimanded by a school lunch monitor for eating his lunch with a fork and a spoon, as per the Filipino custom.

After winning his case before the Quebec Human Rights Tribunal, it’s now before the Quebec Court of Appeal.

The tribunal in April 2010 ordered the Marguerite-Bourgeoys School Board to pay Cagadoc’s family $17,000, ruling school officials mishandled the case.

The school board and the school, Lalande School in Roxboro, backed up the lunch monitor, with school officials and teachers saying the boy ate like a pig and should learn to eat like other Canadians.

The Quebec Human Rights Commission dismissed the complaint as an isolated incident.

The Quebec Human Rights Tribunal, however, investigated further and found a similar pattern of treatment that affected the boy’s self-esteem and performance at school.

Appeal judges deliberate case

The school board is appealing the case, arguing on Feb. 9 before the court that the commission got it right in the first place and the tribunal has no jurisdiction here.

Cagadoc’s lawyer says the tribunal’s findings do have merit and should not be dismissed.

The appeal court has taken the case under deliberation.

Maria-Theresa Gallardo says her son, now 13, is still eating with a fork and spoon but with some reservations.

“At home, he still wants to make sure he’s doing the right thing,” Gallardo tells CJAD News.

“We’ve been travelling around. I’ve been showing him different ways of eating, and saying there’s nothing wrong with what he’s doing.”

Gallardo says her son can’t shake off the incident.

“He’s still, like, ‘Mommy, when is this going to be over?’ He’s really anxious. I think it’s going to last him a lifetime to remember what happened in that experience that he had.”

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