‘I feel like I'm being forced to feed my child meat': Parent upset with school's lunchtime policy

Child given non-vegan meal during lunchtime

KIRBY, Texas – A parent is furious that her 4-year-old boy has been given food at school that she said he’s not supposed to eat.

The mother said her family is vegan and after providing administrators at Head Start with two doctors’ notes, she caught the school’s cafeteria staff handing her son non-vegan food.

Danielle Williams said when she dropped off her son at school a few weeks ago, she was not happy to see a cafeteria employee hand her son milk and a breakfast taco.

“I looked at the lunch lady and said, "You know, ma’am, he's not allowed to eat this." And she was fully aware and she said, ‘Well, we denied your request.’ At that time, I was just stunned. My husband and I assumed that they were feeding him the food he was supposed to eat,” Williams said.

Williams and her family made the decision two months ago to become vegan for health reasons. She said, however, the staff at her son’s school, Hopkins Elementary, has not made it easy for her.

“I packed his food with him. She handed it back to me and said, ‘We cannot accept this. You have to come back to the school every day at 11:30 a.m., sign him out, eat lunch with him and sign him back in,’” Williams said.

Williams was told due to safety procedures, she could not pack a lunch for her son, so she’s been picking him up every day for lunch and bringing him back to school.

Hopkins Elementary is a school in the Judson Independent School District, but a spokesperson with Judson said because the Head Start program is federally funded and run, it has its own set of rules.

“I feel like we're not being respected in what we choose not to eat. I feel like I'm being forced to feed my child meat when I don't want to, and I shouldn't be forced to feed them meat,” Williams said.

On Thursday, a spokesperson for the Family Service Association said they have resolved the issue and are going to be providing a vegan meal to the child.

About the Author:

Stephanie Serna is a weekday anchor on Good Morning San Antonio and GMSA at 9 a.m. She joined the KSAT 12 News team in November 2009 as a general assignments reporter.