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Posted on June 5, 2013 9:32 pm
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Lorraine Gilpin
Lorraine Gilpin
Reps: 31
Culture, Religion, & Diet
I taught fifth graders in a public school in a military community. Each year, (to my delight)the principal assigned me as many Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Students(CLDS)as he could. One year Shalma, an Islamic student, joined the class in the spring. She was the first known Islamic student to enroll in the school. Two pertinent facts: 1. Salma wore the traditional Hijab and abaya each day. 2. I had informed the cafeteria staff about Salma's dietary laws and needs(including that fact that she was not to even touch unclean foods nor eat anything that touched it). One day Shalma was served ham in the cafeteria. She explained that she could not eat it and was told, "Well, just take it off and eat the rest." Quantasha, an African American peer who was next in line told Ms. Deb, the cafeteria staff member, "She can't just take it off. It's unclean to her. You have to make her a new lunch. Quantasha was sent to the principal's office for disrespecting Ms. Deb, and the whole class was put on silent lunch. When I returned, I inquired of the paraprofessional in charge why the class was given silent lunch. She informed me that they were loud and rude to the lunchroom staff. What can be done to prevent this kind of situation from happening?
 
     
     
 
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Solution 1
Posted October 17, 2014 8:02 pm

hygaPe
hygaPe
Reps: 99
I hate to hear this happened to your class. It seems that the cafeteria needs to be more informed of Salma's beliefs and dietary laws. It might be necessary for administration, along with the teacher, and possibly Salma's family to sit down with the lunchroom staff and discuss the student's beliefs.
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Kady Schlemmer
Kady Schlemmer
Reps: 201
I, too, am disheartened upon hearing of this. I agree that meeting face-to-face with all those affected would be helpful. That student deserves as much respect as anyone else in that cafeteria.
  Posted on: July 9, 2016 3:46 pm

Kathy Allen
Kathy Allen
Reps: 100
Informing others that could have an impact in a student's daily life is important so these situations can be avoided.
  Posted on: February 23, 2018 9:13 pm

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Solution 2
Posted October 19, 2014 3:08 pm

qaWeBu
qaWeBu
Reps: 125
I would request a meeting with your administrators and all of the staff that will encounter this student. Emails are not sufficient when it comes to setting expectations for students like Shalma as they are not always read thoroughly by everyone.
Documentation of this meeting and acknowledgement of staff will assure this doesn't happen again. If it does, the only the faculty member responsible for the act will have consequences, instead of a law suit brought against the school or the district.
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Solution 3
Posted October 18, 2014 11:22 pm

BuqeNu
BuqeNu
Reps: 100
Lunchroom staff must be informed of special dietary concerns of students who intend to eat lunch prepared by school nutrition. The nutrition department should be provided literature on customs and respect the customs of all students. In addition, this is a culturally teachable moment for the class to learn and better understand different cultures.
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Solution 4
Posted February 28, 2015 3:36 am

yDegyv
yDegyv
Reps: 101
First off it is a shame that this happened to your class and more specifically Shalma. Secondly what can, and should have been done is that the administration of the school should have informed the staff of the dietary needs of students of different cultures.This in my opinion is not your fault nor the lunch staffs fault, it was just a lack of cultural information.
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Solution 5
Posted March 10, 2015 12:23 pm

yPyjeW
yPyjeW
Reps: 104
In my experience, I feel it's best to discuss any changes with new students with the faculty/administration that will be working closest with the child and their family. Secondly, I feel it always necessary and respectful to educate the class on the differences and welcome the new student. It's always hard to be new, and especially when treated like an outcast simply because you're religion mandates certain restrictions on diet and attire. It's important that we treat and TEACH equal treatment out of love, respect, and kindness.
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Solution 6
Posted March 10, 2015 12:24 pm

yPyjeW
yPyjeW
Reps: 104
In my experience, I feel it's best to discuss any changes with new students with the faculty/administration that will be working closest with the child and their family. Secondly, I feel it always necessary and respectful to educate the class on the differences and welcome the new student. It's always hard to be new, and especially when treated like an outcast simply because you're religion mandates certain restrictions on diet and attire. It's important that we treat and TEACH equal treatment out of love, respect, and kindness.
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Solution 7
Posted March 15, 2015 1:37 am

eXeNum
eXeNum
Reps: 103
It seems like the first step is to contact the administration about the problem. If the cafeteria workers are accountable for preparing food for this student's very specific needs, then the administration should support both them and the student. It would also be helpful to train students who are having a conflict with an adult to find another adult who can listen to their story and speak on their behalf.
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Solution 8
Posted April 2, 2015 6:38 pm

Akeyla Peele
Akeyla Peele
Reps: 100
Hi Professor!

You taught me a few years ago at Georgia Southern! I know teach fourth grade and I also have a student with the same dietary laws/needs. I may be helpful to learn about different diets and dietary laws world wide. A grade-appropriate lesson would help to learn about their peers and other people they may some day meet. It is imperative to have administration sit down and meet with the cafeteria staff concerning students with such needs. My students' family just makes his lunch to avoid these problems.
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Solution 9
Posted October 4, 2015 11:49 pm

eDuMez
eDuMez
Reps: 100
Perhaps construct a "newsletter" type document to be handed out to the lunch staff at the next staff meeting. I would go over the beliefs of the student and explain the importance. Unfortunately this situation has to be a learning situation so it does not repeat itself!
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Solution 10
Posted February 17, 2015 1:18 am

aGuvuL
aGuvuL
Reps: 101
When a student requires special circumstances, like a special lunch, it is important that the ENTIRE school staff is aware of the situation.
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Solution 11
Posted October 3, 2016 8:22 pm

PumuMu
PumuMu
Reps: 203
You have to get to know them
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Solution 12
Posted October 6, 2016 5:56 pm

PuWupe
PuWupe
Reps: 206
Personally, I would go to the principal office and speak out the situation, and in the best case, I will request to have Ms. Deb in the meeting too. As teachers we have to care about our students and advocate for them, it was not enough to advise about this student situation. Therefore, the staff from the cafeteria should be advice about not being rude and respecting students concerned and religion.
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