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Family Alleges School District Ignored Daughter's Religious Dietary Restrictions - Fed Her Pork Without Warning

Muslim parents in Tucson, Arizona say that their daughter's elementary school has been serving her foods that contain pork products. The parents are angry because they believe the school is violating their rights by not respecting their daughter's dietary restrictions. The school district says they're not required to accommodate children's religious dietary needs.

The mom, known only as Nancy, says her second grader has been slipped pork products by Holaway Elementary School in Tucson. Nancy says she informed the school of her daughter's dietary restrictions back in September, but the school has ignored it.

Nancy's daughter was most recently served a bacon cheeseburger. When the child complained, the lunch lady reportedly responded, "No, too bad. Just pick it off."

"Picking it off doesn’t work because it’s in the hamburger,” Nancy said.

“I want my religion to matter to you guys. My daughter shouldn’t have to go to school and be fearful of what’s she’s eating,” the mom added.

Nancy is also upset because her daughter is fed cereal bars, which are made with gelatin, a by-product of pork prohibited in the Muslim religion.

When asked why she doesn't pack a lunch for her daughter, Nancy responded, "We told them we could send that – but at that same time she doesn’t want to have to be that different child."

A spokesperson for the Amphitheater Unified School District explains that schools only make dietary accommodations for students with a medical issue.

“Even though the district is not required to accommodate special dietary needs based solely on religious purposes, our district nutritionist and food services staff plan menus that are compliant and meet the various nutritional guidelines, as well as include food options that are the best fit for the food preferences of the school. We encourage families with children with any special dietary needs to make sure they are educating their children about what to look for so they know what is acceptable and what they should avoid. Our menus are always posted online and you can request the ingredient list for any food item you are unsure about. In situations where there are special food requirements or restrictions, we encourage you to meet with our district nutritionist to discuss the best options for your family. The best way to ensure a meal meets any special dietary needs is to send a meal from home that you have prepared. Every child is different and we do our best to ensure a healthy, accommodating environment for all of our students,” said a statement put out by the district.

Nancy believes the rules need to change.

Source: Tucson News Now
Photo: U.S. Department Of Agriculture/Flickr

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