“I intend to ban halal in school canteens,” said Marine Le Pen, candidate from the National Front. Nicolas Sarkozy, in turn, also did not fail to speak out on this problem: “Our school canteens are organized according to secular, and not by religious principle. I will oppose any changes in this area “.
Francois Hollande, presidential candidate from the Socialist Party, more restrainedly expressed his position: “Our school canteens should remain places where the differences in the menu do not lead to the appearance of individual tables”.
All researchers note an increase in the number of requests for a special menu in schools in the last decade. Most often, parents ask not to feed their children with meat, especially pork. However, recently parents are requesting to provide them with “free meat” for children. These new requirements come from Muslim parents: “Muslims simply do not want their children to eat meat; More radically configured that children are given only a freebie, ”eyewitnesses say.
This problem is not so acute in the Jewish environment: parents do not require schools to provide kosher food, since 30% of children from orthodox families study in specialized religious institutions.
The problem “Enter or not introduce a rabid menu in school canteens” has another side. So, Muslims and public nutrition experts agree that school canteens do not offer real free meat.
Allan Lebar, the head of the union of public cards, said: “As far as I know, they do not exist for free meat in school canteens. There is a demand for it, but today alternative menus are offered – fish or vegetarian ”.
The Association “City and the suburbs” recognizes that this issue has not been discussed publicly for a long time: “Municipalities do not interfere in religious affairs; Their main task is to ensure that the children receive a healthy and balanced diet “.
Some experts believe that the introduction of halal meat into the school menu will shake the basics of secularity. Others say, first of all, about the difficulty in organizing supplies to schools of real halal. The others are concerned about the possibility of dividing children into groups – those who eat pork and those who eat halal.
Dunya Buzar, a specialist in Islam, notes: “Parents do not always demand a halal to feed children. They just ask that their children do not force them to eat not free meat, but offer an alternative – fish or vegetables. Even those rare schools that were decided to introduce a halal into the menu, very quickly abandoned such practice, as this led to the division of children into groups and the emergence of individual “Muslim” tables, “Ms. Buzar emphasizes.
It is worth noting that this topic periodically appears in circulars and official government documents. The proposals for entering a halal into the school menu do not contradict the law, but this issue causes fierce disputes on the ground.
The Ministry of Internal Affairs of France published a circular, which stated that “the decision to enter a special menu should be made by each institution in private”. The same circular, however, contains the addition that it is permissible to enter individual prices for special menu.
In Strasbourg, unlike the rest of France, the problem was solved 10 years ago: in the school canteen menu you can choose lunch with or without pork (3, 28 euros), free meat (3, 97 euros) and a vegetarian dish (3, 15 euros ). So, according to statistics, about 20% of students choose a free menu daily.
The question is most likely to receive new development at the national level. Time will tell if there is a need to fix it by legislative.