On Tuesday, New York City Public Advocate Letitia James held a press conference on the steps of City Hall to call for halal and kosher food in public schools.
The conference included city and state officials, as well as affected high school students, all who spoke out on the issue.
High School students Israth Momin and Sudat Khan defined “Halal” and “Kosher” for the attendees, then spoke of their experiences of being distracted with learning due to the inaccessibility of halal and kosher meals at their schools. When asking that their dietary restrictions be considered in high schools, one student noted: “how much [sic] peanut butter and jelly sandwiches can you eat?”
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It is noted that school lunches are provided primarily to mid-lower income families, so to provide lunches that the students are unable to eat for health or religious reasons, makes this accommodation ineffectual.
Public Advocate Letitia James noted that 13% of the city’s students identify as Muslim (in need of a halal diet), and 25% identify as Jewish (in need of a kosher diet). She called for including halal and kosher foods in summer programs as well.
NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer states that all children should “have access to the foods they can eat.” He noted that children can no longer be prevented from having a healthy meal. Comptroller Stringer offered his office in the interest of balancing “food requirements and resources necessary to arrive at a good place.”
NYC Councilman Brad Lander stated that he wants “our public schools to be a place where every kid can get a great education.”
NYS Assemblyman David Weprin was also on hand to provide support for student achievement through viable nutrition.
NYC Councilman Mark Levine noted that all children should be eating healthy food, and supported halal and kosher foods in schools.
Donald Nespit, Executive Vice President of Local 372 gave an impressive speech in support of proper nutritional accommodations for all children, and profoundly ended with: “children are 20% of our population but 100% of our future.”
For a better understanding of Halal-vs-Kosher see the following link: