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article imageOttawa girl, 2, brings cheese sandwich to daycare, gets suspended

By Arthur Weinreb     Mar 6, 2014 in Food
Ottawa - When Randy Murray dropped off his two-year-old daughter at daycare, unbeknownst to him she had a cheese sandwich with her. Although Murray understood why the sandwich was confiscated, he was not expecting his daughter to be suspended for three days.
On Monday, Randy Murray, 32, didn't have time to have breakfast with his two children, Faith and Michael, before taking them to daycare at the Centre de l'enfant aux 4 Vente. So Murray made cheese sandwiches so the kids could eat them in the car on the way to daycare.
Instead of eating her sandwich, two-year-old Faith slipped the ziplock bag into her pocket. The contraband was spotted almost immediately after Faith entered the daycare and a staff member confiscated the sandwich. The sandwich was then handed back to Murray. The daycare centre has a policy of not allowing any outside food to be brought in.
Murray was not upset about the sandwich being confiscated but became angry when he was told Faith would be suspended for three days and he had to take her home. Michael however, could stay.
Murray said, "I thought they were joking. I was like why would I bring one kid home and be home from doing work and everything...I'd bring them both home and that's the end of that."
The rules at the Centre de l'enfant aux 4 Vente provide for an automatic three-day suspension if outside food that does not contain peanuts is brought in. If the food contains peanuts, the child is expelled from daycare.
The Centre de l'enfant aux 4 Vente takes care of 148 children between the ages of 18 months and 12 years. Director Deb Ducharme said she understands the effect the policy has on parents but said, "We need to ensure their well-being and safety. Most parents are comfortable with our rules because it creates a safe environment for their children."
Murray understands the policy but does not agree with the automatic suspension. He said, "This wasn't a packed lunch or intentionally brought in. This was purely accidental by a two-year-old. The automatic suspension kind got right under my skin."
Murray also said, "They freaked out. If I'd got a warning, I'd admit my mistake and move on. But it seems they want to penalize the parents. There's no logic to it. I'm going to the media because I think people have to speak up when something's fishy."
The graphic artist is considering taking time off work to look after Faith and Michael until he can find another daycare.
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