A school district forced to apologize for serving children cold cheese sandwiches for lunch had planned to include meat and several side dishes, but the state Department of Education’s chief nutritional officer said Tuesday even that meal would have been less than ideal.
“This is the first time in my tenure that I’ve seen bologna on a menu,” said Richard Goff, executive director of the Office of Child Nutrition.
Barbour County Superinten-dent of Schools Joe Super has publicly and privately apologized for the decision to serve the sandwiches at Philip Barbour High School and Philippi Middle and Elementary schools last week.
Super said students who got the sandwiches will receive credit if they paid for their lunches, but he declined to explain Tuesday who made the decision about what to serve or why.
“We’re very sorry that this happened. We have told people that it will not happen again,” he said. “It was an unfortunate situation. It should not have happened, but it did, and we’re going to move on from it.”
Super said he’s heard from about seven to 10 parents, all of whom indicated they accepted his apology and promise.
Meanwhile, state education officials say they’ll work with Barbour to ensure healthier options going forward.
Lawmakers, parents and educators have been pushing to get West Virginia schools serving children healthier meals, which are particularly important in low-income counties. Poor children often don’t get breakfast at home and might not eat again until the next school day.
Last fall, the state Department of Education said there would be big improvements under the Healthy, Hunger Free Kids Act. School meals are supposed to have more whole-grain foods, fruit, vegetables, fat-free and low-fat milk, and water.
They’re also supposed to have less salt and fat, and fewer heat-and-serve, processed items.
But Goff said the goal is a work in progress. Goff also worked with legislators to craft the recently passed West Virginia Feed to Achieve Act, designed to ensure that no child is denied a meal because of cost.