An Arizona mother said her daughter’s elementary school keeps serving pork despite their family’s Muslim beliefs.
The parent said she obtained a doctor’s note required by the school explaining that the family is Muslim and does not eat any pork products, but cafeteria workers haven’t followed the request, reported KOLD-TV.
The school was accommodating at first, but the second-grader was served a bacon cheeseburger in December.
“The lunch lady was like, ‘No, too bad — just pick it off,'” said the mother, identified only as Nancy. “Picking it off doesn’t work because it’s in the hamburger.”
Nancy went to Holaway Elementary School seeking answers, and school officials excused the employee’s actions because she couldn’t tell the child was Muslim by looking at her.
“The principal had said because she didn’t wear the traditional clothes and because she’s just a white girl that was going there, she didn’t fit that normal stereotype of being Muslim – so it wasn’t obvious for them to follow the guidelines for her,” Nancy said.
Nancy was frustrated but decided not to take further action until her daughter was given a cereal bar that contained gelatin — a pork byproduct.
That’s when she contacted the TV station about the situation.
A spokeswoman for Amphitheater Unified School District told the TV station they’re not required to accommodate special dietary needs based solely on religion, but they will if the child has a medical issue and a doctor’s note.
“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,” the district said in a statement.
“The best way to ensure a meal meets any special dietary needs is to send a meal from home that you have prepared,” officials added.
Nancy said that policy must change.
“I want my religion to matter to you guys,” she said. “My daughter shouldn’t have to go to school and be fearful of what’s she’s eating.”