Parents slam school for introducing veggie only menu and banning food from home
A new state school has come under fire from parents who say its decision to serve vegetarian meals and ban food from home is discriminating against their meat-eating children.
The Swan School in Oxford, is providing youngsters a few meat and fish options at break time — but there is a strictly vegetarian menu in the canteen over lunch.
Disgruntled parents have complained that their children have come home from school hungry.
One mum said: "The only thing about this school is the vegetarian food – my daughter came home today very hungry.
"I've heard that a lot of children were very hungry as well – there should be option at dinner time [to] eat meat.
"I've never known a school to be like this."
While another mum said: "Swan school food menu needs a menu for kids vegetarian or not. Not all kids are vegetarian my child came home starving and had not eaten all day."
Brian Brown, a school governor in Oxford, said: "Political correctness strikes again. If I was a parent I would have very strong words to say.
"And would be passing sandwiches through the school railings at lunchtime."
But The Swan School has defended the move.
The school opened to its first cohort of about 100 pupils on Monday (Sept 9) and will teach 1,260 pupils when it is full.
Parents were made aware of the vegetarian policy prior to admission.
Options on the menu include lentil lasagne, minted pea and feta frittata and Quorn sausage and potato bake.
Head teacher Kay Wood said: "We have chosen to serve vegetarian meals at lunchtimes for three main reasons.
"Firstly, it allows us to serve better quality meals for the same money.
"Secondly, there are huge environmental and sustainability benefits.
"Most importantly, it allows students of all faiths and different dietary requirements to eat together."
She also stressed the decision to provide vegetarian meals isn't a judgement of those who do eat meat.
"Packed lunches are not banned because the students might bring in meat – we don't allow them because we want all the children and staff to eat together and engage at lunchtime.
"Everyone is working really hard to make sure the food is delicious and nutritious.
"It goes without saying that we are committed to making sure students are not hungry – we offer free breakfast every day for all students."
Pupils can get free porridge in the morning and can buy healthy snacks at break time, but they are not allowed to bring in any other food.
Opposing academic research has been published recently about the health impact of vegan and vegetarian diets.
However, prominent environmental campaigners and even celebrity chef Jamie Oliver have praised schools for shunning meat.
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