[December 23rd] Principal suspended after reports show students left hungry with meal portions cut

A primary school’s principal in Lao Cai Province has been suspended after images ot its students having reduced meal portion with plain instant noodles soup were shared on national television.

Tran Ngoc Ha, principal of Hoang Thu Pho 1 Primary School, has been suspended by Bac Ha District People’s Committee of the northern mountainous province for 15 days for further investigation.

The Lao Cai Department of Education and Training on Monday said it has received a report from the district People’s Committee about “abnormal” meals at the school.

A televised report by VTV24 on Saturday revealed that lunches at the school showed signs of portions being cut.

A table with 11 students only had two instant noodle packages boiled as soup to be served with rice as breakfast, while the menu said each student would get one instant noodle package and one egg for their meals.

For lunch and dinner, students got a bit of minced pork paste and vegetable broth, even though the menu for lunches and dinners on Nov. 14 said there would be 14 kg of pork and 11 kg of bones available. Some of the vegetables in the kitchen were spoiled, and students were told to come to the kitchen to pick them out.

Authorities of Bac Ha District said there needs to be more verification of the matter. The district however confirmed that what happened in the televised report was real, per a response by the school’s principal on Sunday.

In the Saturday televised report, Ha said the students’ portions were complete, and the spoiled vegetables were not used for cooking.

The kitchen staff however said food shortages happened often, and that the school’s toilets even lacked toilet paper, forcing the students to use leaves as substitutes.

Another VTV report on Sunday said another meal at the school only had tofu and vegetables, lacking meat as the menu stated.

The principal once again claimed that the food portions were complete, even as students claimed that they did not feel full.

Kitchen staff said the amount of food ingredients they received was only a third of what it was supposed to be.

Nguyen The Dung, vice director of the Lao Cai education department, said the department wants the district authorities to impose strict punishment on the people responsible if violations are found.

Source: VN Express