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CPS accused of failing to meet students' religious, dietary needs

Chicago Sun-Times Education This Week
Education This Week is our weekly recap of the biggest news in education affecting the Chicago area, Illinois, the region and the nation. Today’s edition was written by Nader Issa, the Sun-Times’ education beat reporter. Follow him on Twitter here.

We’ve written about school food a few times here, from supply chain shortages, to a bill aimed at the procurement process, and the usual quality complaints with a creative photography twist.
Often missing and overlooked from the conversation is children’s religious dietary requirements. And some students and experts don’t think those needs are being met.
Chicago Public Schools started a pilot program just a few years ago for halal and kosher food for Muslim and Jewish students. Followers of both religions don’t eat pork, while chicken and cow products must be killed and prepared in a particular humane fashion according to the rules of the faiths. 
CPS serves daily halal meals at seven of its 500-plus schools, and kosher food at eight schools. Kosher meals, meanwhile, can also be catered to students at any school if requested.
A leader with the Des Plaines-based non-profit Islamic Food and Nutrition Council of America, or IFANCA, said the issue comes down to nutritional equity and oversight.
“Food security is a real issue. When these kids come to school and aren’t given the proper nutrition, they can’t be mentally and physically at 100%,” Asma Ahad told me. “They’re functioning at a suboptimal level. That has short- and longterm implications for their development.”
You can read more about the issue below, along with our other top stories of the week. We have the latest on CPS’ plan to tighten school security in the wake of the Uvalde, Texas, school massacre, plus details on everyone’s favorite topic: pensions.
Until next week,
Nader Issa, Sun-Times education reporter
Got a question you’d like me to look into? Respond to this email or send an email to and your question may be answered in an upcoming newsletter!
CPS accused of failing to meet religious, dietary needs of Jewish and Muslim students
CPS to tighten school security in wake of Texas school massacre, CEO says
CPS’ $175M pension payment narrowly approved by Board of Ed as City Hall ripped for saddling district with debt
Evanston Township High School graduate refuses to give up Indigenous adornments on cap, barred from walking across stage
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Nader Issa

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