A New Jersey high school has issued an apology after receiving backlash for a special Black History Month lunch menu featuring fried chicken. The Hopewell Valley Central High School's Feb. 16 menu included a variety of special items "in celebration of" Black History Month, NJ.com reported. In a statement, township schools superintendent Thomas A. Smith said the menu's lack of context or additional explanation did not reflect the district's values.
"The decision to include these items without any context or explanation, reinforces racial stereotypes and is not consistent with our district mission and efforts to improve cultural competency among our students and staff," Smith said. Pomptonian, the school district's food service supplier, also apologized to the community and is expected to meet with the superintendent to discuss reinforcing "district values" soon. The source of the original complaint is not known, NJ.com reported.
According to Pomptonian, their intent was to celebrate soul food. Pomptonian Vice President Cathy Penna, however, agreed that the menu’s context-free presentation was open to misinterpretation. "The director at this location never intended to do anything that would offend anyone and deeply regrets the decision and understands that it could have been taken out of context," Penna said Monday.
As Mic noted in their report on the incident, Hopewell Valley is a predominantly white school. In fact, around 82 percent of Hopewell students are white. And for all you Twitter eggs just itching to mock this story in the coming hours, maybe peep some stereotype history before firing off your routinely ignored tweets.