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‘I AM VEGAN’: A dad’s fight for daughter to take soya milk to school

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The dad explained that Sofia had never even tried cow’s milk, as she had been raised on the soya alternative with the aim of transitioning to a fully vegan lifestyle. But he was told no.

JAMES HOCKADAY: An infant school has finally agreed to supply free soya milk following a nine-month battle with a vegan dad. Paul Roberts, 43, said he began to suffer with insomnia from stress after his five-year-old daughter Sofia was banned from bringing in her own. He submitted several requests for dairy-free alternatives, which were initially denied by Cranmore Infant School, in Solihull, West Midlands.

But Paul refused to give up and eventually persuaded staff to change their policy and offer plant-based milk to pupils…. Initially, school staff told Paul his daughter dairy was the only option under its milk scheme… The dad explained that Sofia had never even tried cow’s milk, as she had been raised on the soya alternative with the aim of transitioning to a fully vegan lifestyle. But still staff refused to budge and he was told no, not only by Sofia’s teacher, but also by the school’s head Rebecca Ward.

Paul said Sofia had brought in her own soya milk to nursery the previous year without issue. The desperate dad later penned an email to the school’s governing body suggesting his daughter was being discriminated against. But they failed to uphold the complaint and said they had found ‘no evidence’ of discrimination, he said.

Paul then put a message out on Facebook asking for advice, and was told to contact Dr Jeanette Rowley, chair of the International Rights Network at The Vegan Society. She helped Paul to craft a fourth request, which the pair again sent to the headteacher – but this was again rejected. Refusing to give up, they then crafted a comprehensive letter outlining the legalities of the situation to the school’s governing body.

This time, the panel conceded – saying Sofia was allowed to have soya milk in school as an alternative, Paul said… ‘It’s been a really emotionally draining nine months. But I just hope others can benefit from our fight and parents and children in the school understand that they too have a freedom of choice.’ Sofia said: ‘I missed having my soya milk. So I am pleased I now get to have it with my friends.’ Dr Rowley said schools must understand their duties under the Equalities Act 2010, which requires public bodies including schools to consider the negative impact of policies on different groups of people. SOURCE…

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