Urges DOE To Accommodate Muslim Pupils
City Council Member Rafael L. Espinal recently introduced a resolution calling for the addition of a halal option to New York City public school cafeteria menus.
Espinal urged the city Department of Education to incorporate the halal lunch menu option for Muslim students who would otherwise skip meals due to strict dietary guidelines.
“Muslim students in our public schools are not eating lunch because the options they are currently given does not conform to the strict dietary guidelines of their faith,” Espinal said. “This is simply unacceptable. I cannot side idle while children in my district go hungry in school. While there is an ongoing conversation of providing free lunch to every student, we must also be progressive in instituting lunches that respect the faiths of New York City’s diverse student population.”
With approximately 12 percent (120,000) Muslim students in city public schools, a large number of students are being excluded from buying lunch from the school lunch program.
“Last month, in a statement defending the city’s decision to keep schools open during a snowstorm, Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña said, ‘Many of our kids don’t get a hot lunch-and, in many cases, breakfast-unless they go to school,'” Espinal added. “I wholeheartedly agree with that statement, and it is why I believe that the public schools in our city should be doing everything in their power to provide lunch options that will allow our Muslim students to eat a proper dietary meal.”
No date has been set for a hearing on the City Council resolution, but Espinal hoped a hearing and vote would happen as soon as possible.