High School Criticized for 'Soul Food' Lunch Menu for Black History Month

 

A schools superintendent has apologized to parents after a New Jersey high school was criticized for serving a "soul food" lunch menu to celebrate Black History Month. Hopewell Valley Central High School's February 16th lunch menu included fried chicken, corn bread, sweet potato casserole, sauteed spinach, mac & cheese and peach and apple crisps. Superintendent Thomas A. Smith wrote in the apology, "The decision to include these items without any context or explanation, reinforces racial stereotypes and is not consistent with our district mission and efforts to improve cultural competency among our students and staff." Cathy Penna of the school district's food service vendor, Pomptonian, said they'd worked with an administrator in one of the schools on creating a menu to celebrate Black History Month. She explained, "The suggestion was to do something to celebrate soul food. . . . Pomptonian deeply regrets that, out of context, this menu may have been perceived by individuals as insensitive or in poor taste." Hopewell Valley Central High School's student body is more than 80 percent white, with just under four percent black students.


In a message to the community the Superintendent wrote,

"The decision to include these items without any context or explanation, reinforces racial stereotypes and is not consistent with our district mission and efforts to improve cultural competency among our students and staff."

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