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School says talking, lunch don't mix

January 26, 2007|From the Associated Press

WARWICK, R.I. — A Roman Catholic elementary school adopted rules this week requiring students to remain silent while eating. The move comes after three recent choking incidents in the cafeteria.

No one was hurt, but the principal of St. Rose of Lima School explained in a letter to parents that if the lunchroom is loud, staff members cannot hear a child choking.

Christine Lamoureux, whose 12-year-old is a sixth-grader at the school, said she respected the safety issue but thought the rule was a bad idea.

"They are silent all day," she said. "They have to get some type of release."

Another mother, Thina Paone, does not mind the silent lunches, noting that the cafeteria "can be very crazy" at the school south of Providence.

Michael Guilfoyle, a spokesman for the Diocese of Providence described the silence rule as a temporary safety measure and said the school did not expect complete silence.

Lori Healey, a teacher at the school who also has a son in third grade, said "silent lunch" meant students could whisper.

"They know it's not for punishment," she said. "It's for safety, and they'll be the first ones to tell you."

Stacey Wildenhain, a teacher's assistant at St. Rose, said her 7-year-old son did not mind the policy. He told her: "The sooner we eat, the sooner we can get out to play."

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