New York school goes all-vegetarian
Students at the Active Learning Elementary School in Queens check out the cafeteria salad bar.
May 8th, 2013
03:30 PM ET

New York school goes all-vegetarian

By Brittany Brady, CNN

(CNN) - Asked which school meals were their favorites, students at a public school in the New York borough of Queens don't say chicken fingers or meatballs. Instead, they name rice and kidney beans, black bean quesadillas or tofu with Chinese noodles.

"Whoever thought they would hear a third-grader saying that they liked tofu and Chinese noodles?" asked Dennis Walcott, New York City schools chancellor.

Walcott was at the Active Learning Elementary School this week to celebrate its move to all-vegetarian meals five days a week. The school of nearly 400 students, from pre-kindergarten to third grade, was founded five years ago on the principle that a healthy lifestyle leads to strong academic achievement.

"We decided on a vision where health and nutrition would be a part of educating the whole child," school principal Bob Groff said.

The school's focus on healthier meals began three years ago when Groff noticed a majority of students were bringing their own vegetarian meals. The school went meatless three days a week about a year and a half ago. It also tested meals on a small group of students, gathering feedback and changing the menu accordingly.

Active Learning's student body may be more accustomed to vegetarian diets than most, with 85% of the students being Asian and another 10% Hispanic, said Margie Feinberg, spokeswoman for the New York Department of Education.

"Rice was a staple of many of their home foods," Groff said of the students.

Read the full story

My View: Why are schools the last places to come out?
"In our schools, and in our sports, LGBT employees still cannot bring their whole self to work," David M. Hall writes.
May 8th, 2013
05:00 AM ET

My View: Why are schools the last places to come out?

David M. HallBy David M. Hall, Special to CNN

Editor’s Note: David M. Hall, Ph.D., is the author of the book “Allies at Work: Creating a Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Inclusive Work Environment.” Hall teaches high school students and runs a graduate program in bullying prevention and diversity at He is on twitter @drdavidmhall.

(CNN) - Times are changing for being openly gay or lesbian. The president has endorsed same-sex marriage, as are a growing number of politicians. The Boy Scouts are considering allowing Scouts to be out.

Even in the world of sports, Jason Collins, an NBA veteran, has come out of the closet.

But things don’t seem to have changed that much in some high school gymnasiums as it has on the NBA basketball court.

Carla Hale worked as a physical education teacher at a Catholic school in Ohio, but lost her job after being “outed” in her mother’s obituary, when she listed her female partner as her spouse. According to reports, an anonymous letter was sent to the Catholic Diocese of Columbus by a parent.

The next week, Hale was fired.

Sporting events and schools are the very places where people from every corner of our society come together. But in some ways, schools bring a different set of complications than the macho world of professional male athletes.

Read Hall's full column on CNN's In America blog

Posted by
Filed under: Religion • Teachers • Voices