Some people in the Brentwood, Tennessee community are upset because they believe a ban on pork-based snacks at the local elementary school was designed to appease Muslim students.
The school under scrutiny is Sunset Elementary school. Parents recently received a list from the third grade teachers of the school with permitted snacks for the upcoming year. The “Approved Snack List” read as follows:
“Sunset School’s staff is attempting to make school parties and snacks as safe as possible for all our students including our student’s that have a Severe Food Allergy. Starting Monday, August 12, 2013 your child must provide their own snack from the above approved snack list.
”The memo encourages students to bring “fresh deli Lunch meat and/or cheeses” but explicitly states that students should bring “no meat containing pork.”
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The ban on pork upset many parents, several of whom voiced their frustration online or on local radio programs.
“Is this school system trying to satisfy a religion?” one Brentwood resident asked. “I see a big red flag here.”
“I’ve never heard of a life-threatening pork allergy,” a parent said on Facebook
The ban lasted a total of one day. After news of the snack list reached Williamson County School officials, a message was posted on the school district's Facebook page telling parents to ignore the pork ban.
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“Schools should only be offering suggested snack choices, and that information will be sent home only if your child is in a classroom where there is a food allergy,” the Facebook post said. “Any reference to not allowing pork products in school is incorrect. Please disregard.”
It is not clear whether any third grade students at Sunset Elementary are Muslim. It is even less certain if a Muslim student would be offended by other students eating pork. As someone who grew up in school with many Muslim classmates and friends, I can tell you that every Muslim student I encountered only cared about they ate, not what people around them ate.