Mother upset children's dietary needs can't be met at Wake County school

WAKE COUNTY, N.C. (WTVD) -- A Wake County single mother is fired up over a school refrigerator.

Ursula Thompson said her two disabled children need a special breakfast and lunch. She's been keeping the meals cool in the school's refrigerators for years, but now she said she has been told that can't happen any longer.

The Wake County Public School System said in a statement there were safety concerns.

Thompson was astonished when she received a letter and learned the dietary modifications for her daughter would no longer be met with North Forest Pines Elementary school. She was even more shocked when she said baby food was offered as an alternative. The girls are 11 and 9 years old.

"It's not fair and it is insulting," said Thompson. "They're not babies and it just makes me sad because it seems like they don't care. Ask the parents of these children what would be best for them."

Jaidah and Morgan Spencer have Agenesis of the Corpus Callosum. The girls were born with the rare brain disorder. They can't speak, walk, or talk. The sisters are on strict diets and can't swallow whole food.

Thompson needs to puree all of their meals. She said for the last six years she has sent the girls to schools with modified meals. Staff at the school would then refrigerate and microwave the food.

In a statement, the school district said, "Students who require dietary modifications as indicated in a medical statement signed by a doctor may receive meals prepared by the school cafeteria in accordance with any needed modifications. Examples include a soft or a blended menu. Any food brought from home that requires temperature controls should be brought in an insulated container. Sanitation guidelines prohibit staff members from refrigerating or reheating foods that students bring from home, because food prepared in classrooms, as well as dishes and containers, cannot be monitored for sanitation."

Thompson's options now are to let staff feed her adolescent kids the baby food, or put prepared meals in a thermos where they would hopefully stay at the right temperature.

"A small thing like food borne illness could put them in the hospital," she said. "I feel like I'm fighting against the very people who are supposed to be advocates for my children and that hurts me."

The girls are tracked out of school right now. They will head back to school Monday. Thompson is considering making the 30-minute drive to and from school to serve her kids their meals.

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