Monday, October 11 2021

TOWNSHIP OF HOPEWELL – The township school principal apologized to parents for a recent high school lunch menu that served fried chicken to celebrate Black History Month.

The February 16 lunch menu at Hopewell Valley Central High School also listed cornbread, a pot of sweet potatoes, sautéed spinach, mac and cheese, and peach and apple chips.

Photo provided.

It is not known who complained about the menu.

“The decision to include these items without any context or explanation reinforces racial stereotypes and is inconsistent with our district’s mission and efforts to improve the cultural skills of our students and staff,” wrote the Superintendent Thomas A. Smith in a high school message. community.

Smith wrote to the food service provider in that district, Pomptonian, had apologized to the district and they meet with the company “to strengthen our district values”.

Smith could not be reached for comment on Monday. Schools have been closed.

Pomptonian vice president Cathy Penna said one of their principals worked with an administrator from one of the district schools to create a menu to celebrate Black History Month.

“The suggestion was to do something to celebrate soul food,” Penna said in an email. The company tries to offer a diverse menu that respects different cultures, she wrote.

“Pomptonian deeply regrets that, taken out of context, this menu could have been viewed by individuals as insensitive or in bad taste,” said Penna. “The manager at this location never intended to do anything that might offend anyone and deeply regrets the decision and understands that it could have been taken out of context.”

The family-owned business, based in Fairfield and in business for more than 50 years, says it provides meals to more than 350 schools across the state.

The high school has about 1,200 students, 82% of whom are white, 10% Asian, 3.8% black and 3.6% Hispanic, according to records.

Editor’s Note: This story has been updated to clarify Pomptonian’s comments.

Kevin Shea can be contacted at [email protected] Follow him on twitter@kevintshea. Find NJ.com on Facebook.


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