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6.25.2009

school forced hindu kid to eat beef?

This story is from a few weeks back... The U.S. Justice Department is investigating an allegation that staff at the Academy of World Languages, a public magnet school in Evanston, Ohio, fed a Hindu man's son a beef taco despite knowing his strict religious prohibition against beef: Taco incident under investigation.

The Father, Ashish Gandhi, is calling it an "intentional act of religious bigotry." The school clerk apparently took Gandhi's son to the cafeteria and force-fed him the taco. he incident occurred in the midst of a long-running dispute between Gandhi and the school over his son's education and discipline.

Cincinnati Public Schools admits the 5-year-old ate the taco, but denies violating religious discrimination laws. They say the boy chose the taco himself, and the clerk was unaware of his dietary restrictions.

Gandhi has also filed a separate complaint with the Justice Department, alleging that the school system has refused to offer his son, who lived in India until moving to Cincinnati in 2007, services for non-English speaking students. That's also under investigation.

Now, it's one thing to accidentally serve beef to a 5-year-old Hindu kid, unknowingly violating his religious dietary restrictions. That's just ignorance. It's another thing entirely to force feed that kid a beef taco on purpose.

I have no doubt that this probably revolves around a history of cross lines and religious misunderstanding, malevolent or not, between Gandhi and the school. My guess is though, they won't ever be able to get to the bottom of what really happened -- it's probably the kid's word against the clerk's.