A mother has claimed that a nursery banned her five-year-old daughter from eating a chicken sandwich because it was not halal.
The Daily Mail reports that the allegation has caused a row, with the nursery now under investigation by school inspectors Ofsted, while police are also investigating numerous race and religious offences against the nursery by online commenters.
Yasmin Jackson, 24, says that her daughter, Amari was left “starving” after staff at Kingswood Daycare Nursery in Mitcham, south London, refused to allow her to eat the chicken sandwich. She had given her daughter a packed lunch, as instructed by the local council, by when she collected Amari in the afternoon, she found that she had not been allowed to eat it.
Ms Jackson said: “When I picked her up at the end of the day the first thing she said to me was, ‘mummy I’m really hungry, can I have my lunch now?’
“I went to speak to the manager and I said ‘why wasn’t my daughter allowed her lunch’ and she said ‘we didn’t know it was healthy’.
“And she said ‘the form was wrong, you weren’t meant to send a lunch as it is provided here. We gave her a small portion of spaghetti pasta and an apple’.
“And she said we didn’t know if it’s halal. I said we are a Christian family and it was a chicken sandwich. And she said ‘we don’t allow any non-halal meat in the nursery’. So I thought ‘this is just ridiculous’.”
Ms Jackson then posted the story on Facebook, where it went viral. She claims that even her Muslim friends were angered by the incident.
The nursery has now taken down its website and reported a series of racially and religiously abusive comments to the police.
Nursery manager Afsheen Siddik said: “I deny the untrue and false allegations that have been made against myself and Kingswood Daycare Nursery. As a result I have informed Ofsted and the police who are currently dealing with this matter.
“We work closely with parents to provide a high standard you would expect for your child. We treat each child as an individual and provide them with equal opportunities and meet all ethical standards.”
Merton Council refused to comment on the incident and said it was unaware of any complaints against the university. “Kingswood Day Care Nursery is run privately. The food policy is decided by the nursery,” they added.
Referring to the complaints of racial abuse, a police spokeswoman said: “I can confirm that officers in Merton have received a complaint of racially and religiously aggravated communications sent to the said location which are also a matter of investigation.
“At this time officers in Merton are liaising with local partners and Ofsted.”
Ms Jackson said that she will now send her child to a different nursery, adding: “I’d rather not have a further incident of my five-year-old starved. I wouldn’t do it to her and I don’t expect anyone else to.”