A SCHOOL dinner lady has been sacked after accidentally serving pork to a
Alison Waldock, 51, made the mistake when seven-year-old Khadija Darr pointed
to a gammon dish on the lunch menu and Alison put it on her plate.
The school’s headteacher saw the youngster about to tuck into the meat — which
Muslims are not allowed to eat — and raised the alarm in the dinner hall.
And Alison, who had dished up meals for 11 years, was booted out after the
school told the girl’s parents, who complained to catering firm chiefs.
Last night British group Campaign Muslim4UK branded the decision to sack
her “heavy-handed” and an “overreaction”.
A spokesman said: “Mistakes occasionally happen. I’m sure the overwhelming
majority of Muslim parents would be understanding.”
Khadija’s parents Rumana and Zahid contacted bosses at caterers Lunchtime UK
after hearing of the error at Queen Edith Primary School in Cambridge.
The firm then fired Alison for gross misconduct due to “negligence,
carelessness or idleness”.
But the mum of two said: “I feel the school and catering company made me a
scapegoat so they can’t be seen as politically incorrect. I was really upset
when I found out what I’d done.
“I’d never have done something like this on purpose. It was a simple mistake —
I was so gutted with the school’s reaction. I really enjoyed the job and I’d
never had any problems before.”
Alison was suspended while a probe took place then axed a month later after an
She said there were around 40 pupils with various dietary requirements and it
was impossible to keep track of them with the documents she was given.
She added: “I asked, ‘Do you want the gammon?’ and she said yes, so I served
it to her.
“When the headteacher found out she was not happy. But there are 200-odd
children to feed and I don’t know who is a Muslim or who is a vegetarian.
“There is a list, but the pupils don’t wear name badges or stickers and we
can’t know them all.
“I respect all of the children's beliefs, religions and meal choices. This was
just one mistake. I think firing me was really harsh.”
Khadija’s parents claimed the school told them Alison wasn’t concerned
about the error.
Rumana, 33, said: “The person there said the dinner lady didn’t care or wasn’t
But shocked Alison insisted: “That’s just not true. If I saw the parents
today, I would say sorry.”
Lunchtime UK Operations director Peter McAleese said: “Anyone losing their job
is regretful. But there was a full and transparent procedure that Alison
went through — as well as an appeals procedure which she lost.”
A spokeswoman for Cambridgeshire County Council said: “The authority was not
But Inayat Buglawala, chair of moderate group Campaign Muslim4UK, blasted
He said: “Dismissing a dinner lady for inadvertently serving pig meat is an
overreaction “The most sensible way to rectify such mistakes is to improve
awareness of the pupils’ dietary requirements while apologising to the
pupils and their parents.”
UKIP leader Nigel Farage promised to take up Alison’s cause. He said: “I feel
desperately sorry for her. If she’d served gammon to a vegetarian would she
have been fired? I think not.”
Read more: http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/news/5042919/dinner-lady-sacked-for-accidentally-serving-pork-to-muslim-student.html#ixzz2ad9gL6c8
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