A New Jersey school featured a special lunch menu last week "in celebration of Black History Month."
The bill of fare at Hopewell Valley Central High School?
Fried chicken, cornbread, sweet potato casserole, sauteed spinach, mac & cheese and peach and apple crisps.
School apologizes for fried chicken menu for Black History Month https://t.co/7BcT8azPU0 https://t.co/KUZcajYCW7— njdotcom (@njdotcom)1487626533.0
Thomas A. Smith, superintendent of Hopewell Valley Regional School District, apologized.
"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," he wrote in a message to the high school, NJ.com reported.
Smith added that the district's food service vendor — Pomptonian — apologized as well and that district officials would meet with the company "to reinforce our district values," NJ.com added.
A Pomptonian director based at Hopewell Valley Central worked closely with the high school on the Black History Month menu, the company's vice president told the outlet.
"The suggestion was to do something to celebrate soul food," Cathy Penna told NJ.com in an email, adding that Pomptonian attempts to create diverse menus respecting different cultures.
The company "deeply regrets that, out of context, this menu may have been perceived by individuals as insensitive or in poor taste," she added to the outlet. "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."
Hopewell Valley Central has about 1,200 students, NJ.com said, adding that 82 percent are white, 10 percent are Asian, 3.8 percent are black and 3.6 percent Hispanic.
A similar incident occurred at a California private Christian school in 2014. During that Black History Month, Carondelet High School for Girls in Concord announced a lunch of fried chicken, cornbread and watermelon, which didn't go over so well.