A middle school in New York has come under fire, along with its food vendor, Aramark, for serving chicken and waffles with watermelon on the first day of Black History Month.
On Feb. 2, David A. Johnson, the principal at Nyack Middle School, wrote a letter to the students’ parents and guardians about the school lunch menu that was offered on Feb. 1, which he referred to as “inexcusably insensitive,” according to CNN.
“The offering of chicken & waffles as an entree with watermelon as a dessert on the first day of
Black History Month was inexcusably insensitive and reflected a lack of understanding of our district’s vision to address racial bias,” he wrote.
A middle school in New York and its food vendor, Aramark, apologized after students were served chicken and waffles, along with watermelon on the first day of Black History Month. https://t.co/mroAHThTU8— CNN (@CNN) February 7, 2023
He added, “We are extremely disappointed by this regrettable situation and apologize to the entire Nyack community for the cultural insensitivity displayed by our food service provider.”
Johnson also explained that Aramark veered off from what was originally intended to be on the school menu – Philly cheesesteak, broccoli and fresh fruit.
“I am disappointed that Aramark would serve items that differed from the published monthly menu. Especially items that reinforce negative stereotypes concerning the African-American Community. I hope this unfortunate situation can act as a learning opportunity for Aramark to be more mindful when making decisions that impact our students,” he continued.
In a statement by Aramark, the company claimed its menu “was not intended as a cultural meal.”
“We apologize for the unintentional insensitivity shown on February 1, the first day of Black History Month. While our menu was not intended as a cultural meal, we acknowledge that the timing was inappropriate, and our team should have been more thoughtful in its service,” the statement read.
The company also shared it is “committed to doing better in the future.”
“This was a mistake and does not represent the values of our company, and we are committed to doing better in the future. We believe this will provide a good learning opportunity to deepen understanding on the impact of systemic biases and negative stereotypes concerning the African-American Community,” the company said.