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Children excluded from canteens

A commune in the Alps has banned children of unemployed parents from using school canteens

Children of unemployed people are being excluded from school canteens in a commune in Haute-Savoie.

Television channel TF1 said there has been a change of rules in Thonon-les-Bains’ nine school canteens: a child with an unemployed parent can now only use the school canteen on days when they have a job interview or training.

“Quentin”, an unemployed father, told TF1: “A school canteen is a public service; this is discrimination over access conditions to a public service.”

The mairie said it was not a question of discrimination but simply a measure to cope with the lack of canteen places.

Mayor Jean Denais (UMP) said that the problem was caused by an increase in pupil numbers and staffing difficulties.

The Haute-Savoie branch of Parents’ federation FCPE plans to take legal action. “A canteen should be accessible to all,” said a spokesman, Laurent Fontannaz.

According to left-wing newspaper L’Humanité a number of right-wing communes have similar policies.

It added Education Minister Luc Chatel, questioned about the matter recently, said access rules for canteens was a matter for local councils to decide.

Photo: MOnkey Business - fotolia.com

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