Pupils of the 4th to 9th grades of the Faculty Primary School in Prague’s Barrandov have to do without lunch until the end of November. The school is renovating the kitchen and dining room, and there was no place for 700 children to have a hot meal. We managed to find it only for 500 children from kindergartens, preparatory classes and pupils from 1st to 3rd grades.
Parents of children attending the Faculty Elementary School and Barrandov II Kindergarten in Prague 5 were in for a surprise with the new school year. Pupils in grades 4 to 9 lost their lunches for several months. The renovation of the school canteen is to blame.
The school defends itself by notifying parents in advance in September of last year. “We have been asking for the school canteen for seven years. Finally, things have started to move and it is finally being reconstructed. It was already in such a state that there was a threat that it would have to be closed, because it would not be possible to cook there at all,” said TN.cz school director Milan Holub.
However, the parents complain that the reconstruction was originally supposed to start in June and continue during the holidays. “All last year, the school did not have the principal’s day off, because it was saving it for half of June and half of September, when the children were supposed to start school. This would actually give the children snacks for 14 days in June. We agreed to this, because it would not be a problem. Likewise, in September,” one of the parents told TN.cz. In addition, a number of trips and an outdoor school were planned in June. Therefore, children would spend less time in school.
However, the reconstruction did not begin until July 25, as the school said on its website. According to one of the parents, there was no thought of catering for older children. The school principal then automatically assumed that parents would prepare larger snacks for their children. “We would of course like to provide lunch for the children, but there is nowhere,” added Holub.
Fortunately, it was possible to provide meals for at least the youngest. The school provides lunches for 500 children from two kindergartens that fall under it, preparatory classes and 1st to 3rd grades. Only 300 of them will go to ZŠ Chaplinovo náměstí. Another 200 lunches will be prepared in the building of one of the kindergartens. “There was originally a dispensary there, but we have an exception for that, so now we can cook there,” added the director.
However, according to the parents, this was not without further problems. “He gave them an ultimatum. Either classes or lunch within walking distance,” said the parent. The children miss part of the lesson on the way to lunch. According to other parents, the subject must be learned at home.
“The teacher in the first grade told us that she does not consider it realistic to go to ZŠ Chaplinovo náměstí with the children. She would have to leave with them after 10:00 and they should only be in the cafeteria between 11:15 and 11:30,” added one of commenters on Facebook, where parents complained about the school’s measures.
The reconstruction will take some time. “It should be ready by the end of November,” the director specified.
“As far as school meals are concerned, a primary school student has the right to take lunch every day. It is therefore the responsibility of the founder (in this case the municipal district) to ensure this for all students while respecting the safety of the students,” a spokeswoman for the ministry told TN.cz education Aneta Lednová. “I think that we are not violating anything. I am firmly convinced of that,” concluded school director Milan Holub.
“According to the Education Act, the school provides pupils with school meals during their stay at the school. The school principal must provide meals, in this case preferably in another school for all pupils, if the organizational conditions of another school allow it. Or he can provide catering services by another person who provides these services, and only in exceptional cases when it is not possible to provide these services in school catering facilities,” Deputy Central School Inspector Ondřej Andrys added to TN.cz.
“Mr. Director managed to secure alternative meals for 500 children from kindergarten, preparatory and 1st to 3rd grades. Now we will need the patience of the children, parents and staff, for which I thank everyone very much!” wrote the mayor of Prague 5 Renáta Zajíčková (ODS) on her Facebook profile.facebook
The school finally came up with a solution on Friday. “During the renovation of the school canteen, the canteen offers pupils in grades 4 to 9 a cold form of school meals,” it says on its website. That should be the coated pastry. The price should be the same as the price of lunches, from 31 to 35 crowns.