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NJ school apologizes for Black History Month lunch menu that includes fried chicken

HOPEWELL TOWNSHIP, N.J. — A New Jersey school received backlash from parents after including fried chicken and other food items on its lunch menu for Black History Month that "reinforced racial stereotypes."

The Hopewell township schools superintendent Thomas A. Smith apologized to parents about the menu for lunch posted on Feb. 16, NJ.com reported.

"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 in a statement to Hopewell Valley Central High School students, parents and faculty.

The menu also included sweet potato casserole, sautéed spinach, mac and cheese and cornbread. It's unclear who complained about the menu.

The school district's food service vendor, Pomptonian, also apologized for the menu items, Smith wrote in the statement, adding that officials will be meeting with the company "to reinforce our district values."

"The suggestion was to do something to celebrate soul food," Pomptonian Vice President Cathy Penna said to NJ.com.

"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.

Hopewell Valley Central High School has about 1,200 student. Eighty-two percent are whit and 3.8 percent are black, according to NJ.com.