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School apologizes after serving watermelon, waffles and fried chicken during Black History Month

Ali Condon

Published 
| Last updated 

School apologizes after serving watermelon, waffles and fried chicken during Black History Month

Featured Image Credit: CBS

Across the United States, people have begun marking Black History Month, honouring and remembering the important African Americans throughout history.

Some tributes have gone down better than others, though.

For example, when a New York middle school served their students chicken and waffles with a side of watermelon for lunch, it didn't go down too well with students. You can see how they reacted below:

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Aramark, who provide food services for Nyack Middle School, have been called out for serving the racially insensitive meal on the first day of Black History Month (1 February).

Principal David Johnson told WABC that Aramark are to blame for the controversial meal choice, after they supposedly changed the hot lunch menu without informing the school.

Officials have confirmed that the original menu for 1 February was a Philly cheesesteak with broccoli and fresh fruit.

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The meal has been described as 'inexcusably insensitive'. Credit: Brent Hofacker / Alamy Stock Photo
The meal has been described as 'inexcusably insensitive'. Credit: Brent Hofacker / Alamy Stock Photo

Speaking to CBS News about the meal choice, Wilbur Aldridge from the Nyack NAACP explained: "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."

Meanwhile, student Honore Santiago stated that it was the watermelon that made her raise her eyebrows too.

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"They were asking people if they want watermelon and I remember being confused because it's not in season," she said.

As soon as she got home from school, Honore told her mother about her lunch, and both were outraged.

The middle school student admitted that she 'didn't think the company was capable of making us feel bad... especially the kids my colour'.

The chicken and waffles were served with a side of watermelon. Credit: PIFood / Alamy Stock Photo
The chicken and waffles were served with a side of watermelon. Credit: PIFood / Alamy Stock Photo
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Principal Johnson issued a statement on the 'inexcusably insensitive' menu change.

He said: "We are extremely disappointed by this regrettable situation and apologise to the entire Nyack community for the cultural insensitivity displayed by our food service provider.

"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."

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Meanwhile, Aramark has issued their own apology for the insensitive meal choice, stating: "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."

This isn't the first time Aramark has slipped up during Black History Month, either.

Aramark has since issued an apology. Credit: Robert K. Chin - Storefronts / Alamy Stock Photo
Aramark has since issued an apology. Credit: Robert K. Chin - Storefronts / Alamy Stock Photo

Back in 2018, the company landed themselves in hot water when they served another racially insensitive meal at New York University during Black History Month.

That time, the meal consisted of Kool-Aid, watermelon-flavoured water, barbecued ribs, cornbread, and collard greens.

After the incident, Aramark issued an apology and staff members involved were let go.

Honore commented: "I thought they learned from their last mistake but I guess not."

Topics: News, US News, Food and Drink

Ali Condon
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