Manners maketh the woman jobless

24th November 2000 at 00:00
A CANADIAN dinner lady has disproved the dictum that good manners cost nothing after being sacked for attempting to ensure children she served were polite.

For 14 years Wendy Arsenault, who worked at Harry Miller middle school in Rothesay, New Brunswick, used to remind pupils and teachers to say "please" and "thank you".

Now she has been fired for "insubordination" after a warning last year not to try to teach manners when she dished out the food. Mrs Arsenault said she had received no formal complaints from staff or pupils.

"Over the years one pupil in particular resisted saying 'please' and 'thank you.' He would say: 'My mother does not make me say them.' I told him: 'I'm not your mother,' and he always ended up saying both.

"When I was told last year I that should not ry to teach manners, he was the kid that was most upset. He stopped the lunch line and announced to all the kids that they had better continue saying 'please' and 'thank you'."

Both Chadwick Foods, the company that took over the running of the school cafeteria this year, and the school principal, Ian Patrick, declined to comment.

But in a call to a radio phone-in show, Bruce Chadwick, the president of Chadwick Foods, said that it was not the job of a food-server to teach politeness. She should be more like a waitress, he said.

Mrs Arsenault said the principal often refused to say "please" and "thank you" and had agreed with the Food Committee's decision to remove her.

Pupils are considering a petition to demand the return of their dinner lady. Politely we hope.

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