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Refugee kids denied free lunch by Swedish school

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Refugee kids denied free lunch by Swedish school
08:38 CET+01:00
Some 200 children of asylum seekers on the Baltic island of Öland are not being given a free school lunch, as local authorities think the families are already getting a food grant from the state.

“They are already getting subsidized food by the state and then I feel that perhaps this should be looked over so that they don't get double lunch subsidies,” said head of education in Borgholm, Lars Bylund, to daily Dagens Nyheter (DN).

The county council nurse, Elisabeth Olsson, in charge of health care for Kalmar refugees and asylum seekers, brought up the issue.

“I can't understand why they shouldn't have the same rights as the other children. If any children need free lunches in school, it's these,” said Olsson to DN.

While carrying out health checks in a temporary school set up for the children of asylum seekers housed on a north Öland camping site, she discovered that the children attending the school were not served a free school meal.

The makeshift school, housed in barracks on the site, currently has some 200 students, according to DN. The camping site is the temporary home of several hundred of asylum-seeking families, with the majority hailing from Syria.

At the moment, the children bring their own lunch, which Bylund told DN he thinks is a better solution for these kids than being sent traditional Swedish food from some municipal catering department.

However, according to Swedish school laws, all Swedish schoolchildren should be offered a “nutritional school meal”.

It is still unclear whether this should include children of asylum seekers to Sweden, according to Stina Sterner of the Swedish Schools Inspectorate (Skolinspektionen), which has demanded an explanation from the local authorities and is looking into the matter.

“We have started an investigation and we haven't really reached an answer to that yet,” she told DN.

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