CHILDREN were left in tears after being refused their chosen hot dinners, because Surrey County Council’s school meal forms make no provision for Hindus.
Mayur Amin has called for change after his two children, Dylan, seven, and Simran, five, who cannot eat beef due to their religious beliefs, were classed as vegetarians, and refused the school meals they wanted, such as roast chicken, gammon or fish and chips.
Mr Amin said his children, who go to Salfords Primary School, have been denied the meals they want on six occasions.
“On the Surrey County Council meal requirements sheet there is no option to put ‘no beef’,” he said.
“So they are put in the vegetarian category and the staff at the school give them what it says.
“It is a lack of awareness of how to deal with a child that is not allowed to have beef for religious beliefs – they don’t have a procedure for a minority.
“I just feel they don’t know how to deal with Hindus.
“How do you explain it to children of five and seven who are coming home in tears saying ‘I was looking forward to fish and chips and we weren’t allowed to have it’? It just breaks your heart.
“They enjoy sitting with their friends and having a hot meal, it is exciting for them and this causes a lot of distress.”
The children have a packed lunch on the days beef is served.
Mr Amin, of Copsleigh Avenue, says he has complained numerous times, and has met with the council’s head of commercial services, but says the repeat instances are “worrying”.
Bosses at the school have promised a review.
Chair of governors Chris Botten, who has been in post for three weeks and was only aware of the latest incident concerning Dylan, said he is happy to write to the family and apologise.
He said the school was beholden to the procedures of Surrey County Council commercial services, which provides school meals, and takes responsibility for the forms.
“While I and my fellow governors are very distressed this parent and young lad have had a difficult experience, our understanding is he didn’t receive anything he shouldn’t have, but he clearly had an unsatisfactory experience,” he said.
“Our job is to work with our contractors to see this is ironed out.
“I cannot comment on the historical matters; if it is a historical error in such a sensitive area, I am absolutely delighted to look at conducting a review.”
Surrey County Council did not comment.