An elementary school in Solihull was forced to end its cow’s milk or water program after a vegan father fought for the inclusion of plant-based alternatives.
Paul Roberts attempted to change the policy in September 2020 after his 5-year-old daughter Sofia was told that she could only get cow’s milk as part of the school’s milk program.
Roberts’ fight began after Sofia was banned from bringing soy milk into classes at the Cranmore Infant School.
In addition, the school initially ignored Roberts’ suggestions to include plant-based alternatives in the school milk program.
Paul really wanted dairy-free Sofia together with another milk-intolerant schoolgirl so that she could enjoy the milk time with her classmates.
Despite numerous attempts and discussions with staff from the Cranmore School and even the school management, Paul was rejected.
In addition, the stress of the case began to weigh on the vegan father, causing Roberts to suffer from anxiety and insomnia as Sofia continued to be absent.
Paul was then advised to contact Dr. Jeanette Rowley, Vegan Rights Advocate and Chair of the International Rights Network at The Vegan Society, who supports and advocates individual vegans in need.
Then Dr. Rowley and Roberts presented a letter to the school board explaining the legality of the situation.
As a result, the Sofia school allowed soy milk to be in the school and forced the school to check their cow’s milk or pure water system.
“I hope others can benefit from our struggle”
After the win, Roberts told the Vegan Society: “The contact with the Vegan Society and the close collaboration with Jeanette was the best thing we have ever done.
“My Sofia not only gets her soy milk, the school even subsidizes it.”
Roberts explained how the nine month struggle was “emotionally draining,” but stated, “I just hope that others can benefit from our struggle and that parents and children in school understand that they too have freedom of choice.”
In addition, Dr. Rowley: “I am pleased with the outcome of Mr. Roberts’ longstanding trial.
“Sofia and other students can now drink a plant-based alternative to cow’s milk at school, and as part of the inclusion, the school will now look at how cow’s milk is promoted.”
Rowley concluded, “The Vegan Society will always do what it can to help vegans or those who are transitioning to or considering veganism.
“I am pleased that we were able to secure Paul and Sofia the results to which they are entitled.”
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