Despite receiving little media attention, the issue of food in French school cafeterias is a source of concern for many parents of Muslim students.
Some mayors have decided not to provide alternative menus in school cafeterias, citing their interpretation of secularism.
This is the case in Tassin-la-Demi-Lune, a commune on the outskirts of Lyon that has mandated that only one menu be offered for school meals since 2016.
When the only meal available is occasionally centred on pork, students who eat only halal or kosher – approved under Muslim or Jewish guidelines, respectively – struggle to get enough to eat.
To address this issue, some mayors have proposed an all-vegetarian menu, citing environmental concerns.
These mayors have provided parents with three menu options: meat, fish, or vegetarian. When Grenoble City Hall asked parents which menu they preferred, 94% chose fish or beef/chicken.
Children in those schools were able to choose their meals, unlike other mayors who believe that secularism means forcing Muslim and Jewish children to eat pork or go hungry.