NYACK, N.Y. (WPIX) — The students at Nyack Middle School in New York were served chicken and waffles with a side of watermelon on the first day of Black History Month, causing the principal to apologize for the “insensitive” incident, according to a letter issued by the school last week.
The students were scheduled to have Philly cheesesteaks, broccoli, and fresh fruit on Wednesday, according to a school lunch menu. But the school’s food provider, Aramark, instead served up the chicken, waffles and watermelon, Nyack Middle School Principal David Johnson said in the letter sent to parents.
“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,” Johnson said in the letter.
The principal called the menu “insensitive” and said he called Aramark to work out a way similar incidents could be avoided in the future. Aramark agreed to be more cognizant about what it plans to offer in its lunch menu, according to the letter.
In a statement, Aramark acknowledged the mistake and apologized. The provider also said the menu was not intended as a cultural meal.
“The situation at that middle school was our mistake and never should have happened,” an Aramark spokesperson said. “It stands in direct contrast to who we are as a company and our longstanding commitment to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.
“We have apologized for our mistake, and are working to determine how it happened and make sure it never happens again. We serve millions of meals every day and our team does an excellent job meeting the needs of the communities we serve.”