Local News

Wake Students Cannot Bring Certain Homemade Food For Classroom Celebration

Posted November 22, 2002

— Under new Wake County rules, students are not allowed to take certain homemade foods to classroom celebrations.

A Thanksgiving feast at Willow Springs Elementary was cooked in the school cafeteria instead of someone's kitchen.

"We try to make sure it's all commercial, that it comes from reputable places that have the appropriate sanitation ratings," school principal Charles Langley said.

The Wake County school system changed its rules after students at a Robeson County elementary school contracted E. Coli after a Thanksgiving celebration last year.

Forty students from Prospect Elementary got sick after they tasted home-churned butter. The outbreak spread to more than 200 people in the community. Four children were hospitalized with kidney damage. At least two lawsuits are filed against the school system.

Buying a turkey dinner and all the trimmings was a little more expensive than serving potluck-style, but parents say it is worth it to know the food is safe for students.

"You don't know how long people have had stuff in their fridge or it's cooked all the way, so I like it better," parent Laurie Graff said.

"You have to put safety first. If they become sick as a result of it, then the experience wasn't worth a whole lot," Langley said.

Wake County principals can decide what students are allowed to bring. State health officials recommended a ban on ground beef, butter, cheese and ice cream. They said baked goods like cookies and cupcakes pose a lower risk for E. Coli.

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