Lynnfield Primary School sparked outrage after announcing plans to serve halal meat in meals to all pupils, even though only 10% of the students are Muslims. But within hours it made a dramatic u-turn and sent a text message to parents telling them that the decision had been reversed.
Hartlepoolmail The school sent a letter to parents on Tuesday afternoon which revealed all chicken, beef and lamb dishes served in school would be prepared with halal meat after the half-term. But just hours later at 8am yesterday, after complaints from fuming parents, the school sent out a text message revealing the changes would not go ahead as planned.
Relieved parent Stephen Lister, 33, described the proposed changes to the menus as “disgusting” and threatened to take his child out of the school if only halal meat was served to children. But Rajab Malik, 45, who has one child at the school and three children who have now left Lynnfield, said: “The halal meat would have been ideal for all of the Muslim children and there is no problem for the wider community to eat halal meat.”
Forty of the 350 pupils at Lynnfield Primary School, in Grosvenor Street, in the town are of different ethnicity. Muslim children at the school can only eat halal meat, which is killed by hand and must be blessed by the person doing the job in the name of Allah.
Marian Fairley, headteacher at the school, said the change was originally made with the aim of catering for pupils with dietary requirements based on their ethnicity.
Rajab, who is chairman of the Salaam Centre, in Murray Street, used to have to take his three older children home at lunchtime when they were at Lynnfield Primary and prepare meals for them himself. (Better idea, take them home to Pakistan) He described the school’s u-turn as “a blow”, saying: “Quite a lot of children at the school are Muslim and I think food should be prepared halal for them.”(10% does not a majority make)
But Stephen said he is “delighted” the school reversed the original decision. The unemployed dad, who lives in Jesmond Road with his partner, Lynn Guest, 28, and who has two children at the school and another two-year-old, said: “What upset me was the fact it felt like it was forced on us, we didn’t have a say. “I felt they were going out of their way to cater for the Muslim children. “It felt wrong and I was pleased and relieved to get the text saying they weren’t going through with it.”
Mrs Fairley said: “Our proposed change to using halal meat in our schoolmeals was based on the best of intentions, with the aim of catering for all our pupils including those with dietary requirements based on their ethnicity. (NO, it wasn’t, you were going to cater to a minority over the vast majority)