A teacher forced a 5-year-old to eat food that was in the trash can, according to reports.
Last week, the 5-year-old Ke’Nya Harris, came home from Deerfield Township Elementary School in New Jersey and told her mother that her kindergarten teacher made her eat a bagel she had earlier thrown into a dumpster.
Ke’Nya’s mother, Candice Harris, filed a report on the incident on Wednesday with the state police. “She is very upset and humiliated,” said Candice Harris. “Ke’Nya said she did not like the bagel, so she threw it away. She said her teacher then took the roll out of the garbage and told her she had to eat it in front of all the children.”
Candice Harris first came to the school superintendent to report the incident.
“The teacher confirmed the incident to me immediately in front of the superintendent,” Harris said. “The teacher told me that she would not have a problem eating the bun. The teacher also refused to apologize. It was not until I threatened to file a police report, hire a lawyer and go to the news that the superintendent gave me an apology. There was absolutely no sign of remorse on the part of the teacher,” she said.
According to Candice Harris, the teacher said there was only paper in the trash. She believes that this does not make the situation acceptable. State Police documented the issue and considered the report. They determined that this was a school administrative problem.
“We looked at it and determined that it is not a criminal matter,” Lt. Gary Catts said. “We recommend that the matter be taken up with the school administration.” School Board President William Miller said: “Obviously we do not tolerate that kind of behavior. It’s ridiculous to think that we think it is right for one of our students to eat from the trash. Yet, with that said, I cannot comment further until all the facts are substantiated.”
Harris has hired attorney John Morris to review the case. We contacted the Division of Child Protection and Permanency. Spokeswoman Kristine Brown said she could not comment in detail about the situation. “By law, I cannot comment on the issue,” Brown said. “However, this type of situation qualifies as something to study and follow.”
Harris said she believes race may have been a factor in the incident. “We are a low-income black family. Most people who attend the school are white.” Due to the economic situation of the family, Ke’Nya’s lunch is subsidized and provided free by the school.
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