By SUSAN DONALDSON JAMES
Boy Bagged For Taking Eco-Unfriendly Ziploc to School
Isabel Theoret was preparing a sandwich for her 6-year-old son’s Kindergarten class one day last week, when he screamed out, “No Mommy! Not a Ziploc!”
The child, who lives with his family in the town of Laval in Quebec, explained that his teacher would exclude him from a contest to win a stuffed teddy bear if he brought an environmentally unfriendly plastic baggie to school.
“Felix explained with lots of emotion and tears in his eyes that there was a simple condition to entering the drawing: Don’t use a Ziploc bag in their lunch,” his father, Marc-Andre Lanciault wrote on his French-language blog, “Notre Vie” [Our Life].
“Felix reacted as if someone had slaughtered a pig for his ham sandwich,” said his father, who is CEO and founder of the technology company INBOX International.
When the father questioned Felix’s teacher, she responded, “You know, Mr. Lanciault, it’s not very good for the environment,” according to a report in Canada’s National Post. “We have to take care of our planet and the bags do not decompose well.”
The baggie blow-up rippled across blogs in both Canada and the United States, as critics wondered why environmental education had to be so dogmatic, especially among the youngest students.
On his blog, Lanciault accused the school of “propaganda” and wondered if the next move would be to discipline school children who wore clothes made in China.
Lanciault said his son had only learned to fear plastic bags.
His blog elicited more than 70 responses, many of them chastising the school.
Maurice, wrote, “The teachers are there to teach our children and not to educate or inculcate values. Education and transmission of values must be done at home by the family.”
A mother of three, Chantal, boasted that she felt “no remorse” for using three baggies a day for her three children’s lunch — “one for the sandwich, one for the snack and one for the vegetables.”
But some sided with the teacher.
“I am fully in agreement with the school,” wrote Johannie. “They must learn that if we do not take care of the environment, it will not be there for much longer. How [long] does it take to wash three Tupperware [containers]?”
And others noted that both Ziploc and Tupperware are made of plastic and therefore “the environment is going to suffer the same.”
Michael Sanera, co-author of the 1999 book, “Facts Not Fear: Teaching Children About the Environment,” said the Canadian incident was not surprising.
“Things haven’t changed,” he said. “Here we have the same sort of pattern we documented in the book — teachers are becoming activists and training their kids to be activists. Secondly, they are latching on to environmental dogma and teaching that as science to kids.
“The key problem is we’ve got a teacher that is on a political crusade and thinks it’s her responsibility to indoctrinate kids and not teach sound science,” Sanera said. “They should teach the science and economics and let the kids decide on their own — after seeing the pros and cons of both sides of the issue.