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Aramark apologizes for serving racially insensitive meal at Nyack Middle School on first day of Black History Month



NYACK, N.Y.Black History Month is a time to honor triumphs of African Americans throughout history, but students and parents at Nyack Middle School raised the alarm after a racially insensitive meal was offered on the first day of the month.

Honore Santiago’s mother reassured her daughter, who is in the sixth grade, saying, “You should feel very happy that you spoke up.”

“Yeah, I am,” Honore said. “I just hope that they won’t do it again, at a different school or my school ever again.”

Instead of the Philly cheesesteak, broccoli and fresh fruit that appeared on the school’s lunch calendar, Aramark, the food service company that provides meals to the district, served chicken and waffles with watermelon.

“I was questioning because they don’t usually give watermelon,” Honore said.

“If they had served chicken and waffles by itself, I don’t know that we would be having this conversation. But the moment you add in the watermelon, that changed the whole complexion, literally,” said Wilbur Aldridge, with the Nyack NAACP.


In a statement, Aramark apologized for the insensitivity, saying in part, “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.”

But this isn’t the first time Aramark found itself in hot water. Back in 2018, another racially insensitive meal was served at New York University during Black History Month. It included barbecued ribs, collard greens, cornbread, Kool-Aid and watermelon-flavored water. When called out, the company apologized and workers were fired.

“I thought they learned from their last mistake, but I guess not,” Honore said.

The interim school superintendent James Montesano says Aramark has committed to partnering with the school to offer training for its employees.

“Workshops that are focused around the concept of equity and institutional racism,” Montesano said.

The NAACP chapter president says this incident points out the need and importance of people learning about culture but also getting repeated sensitivity training.


Source: CBS


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