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A fork next to a plate that says "No Sharing!" with a slice of pie on it

There used to be a time when kindness and good morals were actually encouraged in school. Apparently, liability is more important these days.

A 13-year-old eighth-grader in California got detention last week for sharing his lunch with a fellow student. Kyle Bradford decided to share his chicken burrito with a student who didn’t like the cheese sandwich he received. Bradford was punished for this because it violates the school’s policy, which is in place because “students can have allergies that another student may not be aware of.” It has not been reported that either of the students involved here have any kind of food allergies.

Imagine if schools everywhere followed this same policy of penalizing kids for acts of kindness; it would reinforce selfishness at a young age, which would be unhealthy for individuals and society as a whole. It’s unhealthy for the individual because he’ll grow up to be completely self-serving, which will greatly hinder his ability to form relationships with others. It’s also unhealthy for society because very few people will know how to reach out and collaborate with others; nothing will be accomplished anymore.

Though the school’s concern about food allergies is understandable, it doesn’t make sense to punish someone for possibly endangering someone’s health when he didn’t actually endanger anyone’s health. The classmate did not protest that he was allergic to what Bradford offered him, and at the age group of around 13, one ought to know what he or she is allergic to. It seems to me that the school is so worried about getting sued in the event that someone really does have an allergic reaction to shared food, that they’ve taken some kind of “disciplinary action” ahead of time to avoid legal consequence. Is all that really worth teaching kids the wrong message about sharing with others? I don’t think so.

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