Sixteen Years. Twelve With Good Behavior.

Lockdowns. Weapons checks. Enforced dead silence at lunch.

How exactly is it that the traditional “sit your butt in your chair and learn what we tell you to learn, when we tell you to learn it” model of education isn’t the same as prison, again?

A Roman Catholic elementary school adopted new lunchroom 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 respects the safety issue but thinks the rule is a bad idea.

“They are silent all day,” she said. “They have to get some type of release.” She suggested quiet conversation be allowed during lunch.

A better idea: Have an assembly. Tell the kids “if you see someone choking, yell at the top of your lungs SOMEBODY’S CHOKING”. Better yet, show them how to deal with it.

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

Gosh, I have no idea why. Being jammed into a seat for six hours, threatened with dire consequences for failing to suppress all that pent-up energy…

It’s not the dumbest idea ever, but I can’t think of many worse.

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