Wake County school reverses position on special lunches needed for medical reasons

RALEIGH (WTVD) -- The Wake County School District is making changes after a mother complained to ABC11 about her struggle to get her children the special lunches they need for medical reasons.

Single mother Ursula Thompson told ABC11 earlier this month that her daughters, Jaidah and Morgan, were both born with a rare brain defect. They can't walk, speak, or hear, and they have impaired vision.

The girls are 11 and 9 years old. They attend North Forest Pines Elementary School in Raleigh and are on very strict diets that require modified meals.

Recently, a policy change at the school prevented Ursula from providing the special meals her daughters need. The staff would no longer refrigerate and heat up meals Ursula made for her girls.

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

According to Ursula, the school offered to replace her homemade meals with baby food.

Ursula tried for weeks to contact an administrator about the policy change. Just one day after her story aired on ABC11, someone finally called Ursula back.

"I told her 'My kids are 11 and 9 and the nutritional value of baby food is nothing in comparison to what they need at their age,'" Ursula explained. "So she apologized for that. She actually took responsibility for that decision being made on her end."

Ursula told ABC11 that she understood it is hard for a school district as large as Wake County's to appease every parent and student. While Ursula revealed she was hurt by the policy change, she is accepting the school's apology.

"She did apologize. She said she's not a parent of a special needs child, so she surely couldn't not understand the position I was in," Ursula said. "However, she did seem empathetic to my situation to a certain degree and she really did seem sincere about trying to find a better way."

Ursula also said she's been overwhelmed by the support ABC11 viewers have offered.

"It really touched my heart to know that there are people out there who care. Even though they may not be in the same situation you are, they are empathetic. They do have a heart to give and want to help others, and there are still people like that in this world. And that's a wonderful thing."

The school district told ABC11 on Thursday that they are going to order special puree meals from a health lab for the girls. The specialty meals will be available at the school in two weeks.

"I'm happy that they are making steps forward and progressing towards a goal that can meet the needs of all the kids," said Ursula.

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