Recently, a group of students at Massachusetts’ Lesley University sued the institution over their lack of food options for students with celiac disease. In a press release issued December 20th, 2012, the Department of Justice announced that the university is legally required to provide students with celiac disease and/or food allergies with appropriate meal plans and food services in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
Nora is only 8, going on 18, but we have struggled with the lack of gluten-free food offered through the cafeteria at her elementary school. They do have a couple of options, but I’ve been asked to send emails to the cafeteria manager the morning of or the WEEK BEFORE she intends to order so that the cafeteria staff can prepare for her request. This seems ridiculous to me. Seriously? I don’t know a week ahead of time when she’s going to want to order lunch. And given the number of students at her school with a wide assortment of food allergies, I’m surprised there is not a more comprehensive food allergy/celiac nutritional plan in place. I’m relieved to know that the colleges and universities are stepping up to the plate now. By the time she gets to college, hopefully this will all be old news and she’ll have a world of possibilities open to her.
I’m now left wondering how many other schools still need to follow suit. Will the Department of Justice have to step in on a case by case, school by school basis? Or will other schools that are lagging behind step up to the plate before they are too are sued?
Thank you to those Lesley University students for blazing the path and providing a better future for all the college students to-be.
Read the full press release!