Earlier this month the Centre de l’Enfant Aux 4 vents, an Ottawa daycare, came under fire for its strict policy about not allowing outside food to be brought into the Center. Like each of the two daycare centers my sons attended, the Center made all the meals and snacks on site. Parents sign a contract acknowledging that no outside food is to be brought in, which would be for many reasons such as food safety, hygiene, and the protection of children with food allergies.
Unfortunately, Randy Murray, the father of one child at the daycare, ignored this policy and brought his daughter to school with a cheese slice sandwich in her pocket or hand. I suspect he was late for work and had no time to feed his daughter at home, so he rushed her into the car with a cheese slice sandwich, she didn’t finish it in the car, so they carelessly brought it inside the school. Now he’s unnecessarily scrambling for a new daycare though he only received a 3 day suspension, when all he needed to do was get his daugher to daycare early enough for breakfast there, or wake up early enough to feed his daughter at home, or at least leave time for her to finish breakfast in the car.
The Center Director, Deb Ducharme, said the strict no-outside-food policy aims to protect the health, safety, and well-being of all the children and staff who are allergic to a wide variety of food products, including peanuts, wheat, gluten, egg, fruits, vegetables and seafood. All parents have to sign a document acknowledging that they understand the zero-tolerance policy, which also includes the immediate expulsion of anyone who brings nuts into the facility [or a 3 day suspension for bringing in any other outside food], when they enroll their child, Ducharme said. Not surprisingly, Mr. Murray said he can’t recall the daycare emphasizing the policy when he enrolled his two children, but he did remember “signing a lot of stuff.”
Source: http://news.nationalpost.com/2014/03/06/centre-de-lenfant-aux-4-vents-daycare-cheese-sandwich/ Accessed 28 March 2014
Since the rules of the school clearly state that the penalty is a 3 day suspension of the child, that is what the family received. Mr. Murray stated that he feels he should have just received a warning rather than suspension, and rather than simply accept the consequences of his actions, he decided to remove his daughter from the school and take the story to the press. Oddly, there has been no mention of the child’s mother in the news. I wonder how happy she is that her daughter now needs to change schools. I’m a divorce lawyer, and it’s combative fact situations like this that make their way into affidavits for Court.
The only motivation I can see for the father talking to the press was to hurt the daycare’s reputation, when I submit that he has enhanced its reputation. I agree 100% with their no outside food policy, a policy Mr. Murray agreed to when he signed the agreement for care. In fact, there are also huge signs in the daycare entrance reminding parents of the allergen policy.
Of course, like flies to a piece of meat, those with no respect for signed agreements and no empathy for the safety of others posted comments to the news story. I tell people like these that the reason they should comply with the rules and care for the safety of allergic students and teachers is two fold: First, I will name them in a lawsuit if their disregard for safety causes my child to have an allergic reaction, and second, I will bankrupt them in the process. That seems to get their attention every time.
In conclusion, if you are looking for a French daycare in the Ottawa area that takes the safety needs of food allergic children seriously, I recommend that you check out Centre de l’Enfant Aux 4 vents daycare and visit their website by clicking here.
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