Replace Manish Singh - Director of Food Service - Los Angeles Unified School District

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Petition to Relieve and Replace Manish Singh, Los Angeles Unified School District Director of Food Services –

•  Since 1970, the obesity rate in the United States has tripled, affecting children more than any other strata in U.S. society. 1

•  Since 1918, the number one premature killer of humans in the United States is heart disease, 90% of which is brought on by the consumption of animal based foods.

•  Animal based foods are  the #1 driver of the childhood epidemics of obesity, diabetes, and cancer.

•  The World Health Organization, citing peer reviewed science, declared processed meat a Type I carcinogen, in the same category as cigarettes.2

•  The LAUSD menus currently have “beef sausage patty”, processed turkey bologna, pepperoni, hot dogs, chicken “tenders”, beef burger, processed chicken patty on their menus every day of the week. On “Meatless Monday” students are served double portions of cheese to compensate for the absence of meat.

•  World Bank, NASA, Harvard University, Oxford University and other peer  reviewed science organizations have declared that the number one driver of the  climate crisis is animal agriculture, or human consumption of meat, dairy and eggs.

(1. Centers for Disease Control, 2.  World Health Organization 2015)

In  2017, after two years of non-stop work and campaigning, students and parents working with the student lead group Earth Peace along with athletes, doctors from across the nation, and LAUSD stake holders from the religious community won a yes vote from the Board of Education to implement a vegan lunch option in Los Angeles public schools.  That vote was to implement a pilot program the first semester and to scale the program if there was success, to all LAUSD schools.

The food services director at that time cared about student engagement. He cared about the success of our initiative and he made the pilot succeed.  He interacted with students, he took our suggestions for menu items that would win with students, and he implemented a low- cost marketing strategy in schools where the meals were presented.  Flyers and tasting tables were used to make students aware of the new vegan menu that was available to them every day of the school year.  The result was a resounding success with an average 13.5% of students making the healthy, planet-conscious choice on average, over the course of the first five months.

That food services director exited and an LAUSD veteran administrator, Manish Singh, took his position.  Mr. Singh is student- averse. He has rejected us totally. When we approached him regarding the drastic decline in participation at new schools due to his take over, he refused student concerns and blocked us. Manish Singh removed every popular menu item on the vegan menu except chili.  Instead of offering the weekly change over in menu that was offered by the prior director, Singh implements the same 5 items every week, some of which are not even sufficient to be called a lunch choice. When we came before the Board of Education in protest, Mr. Singh appeared at meetings and chastised us after we spoke, never agreeing to meet with us or talk to us.  Appeals to the superintendent’s office go ignored.  The school board has seen a drastic turn over in personnel and leaders, our superintendent Dr. King passed away.  The new leadership does not care about student health or the resolution that was voted in, in 2017.

Mr. Singh has ceased scaling the vegan lunch offering.  He has canceled and withdrawn the offering at many of the original schools where it thrived under the prior director.  He has now declared the offering will no longer scale at all.  Mr. Singh is acting against student health and our responsibility to the planet to make ecologically conscious choices available to all students. Keeping him in the position of Food Service Director is a liability to student well-being.

Due to his prolonged opposition to the Healthy Freedom Campaign, to vegan lunch choice for all, and due to his commitment to perpetuate cancer-causing and planet destroying foods in our schools, we call for the Board of Education to relieve Manish Singh from his duties as food service director and to replace him with a director who cares about student health, who engages student shareholders in meaningful and consistent ways, and who puts STUDENT HEALTH AND FREEDOM OF CHOICE FIRST.

The vegan lunch option should be scaling up every year by 100 more schools until all 1,000 K-12 school in Los Angeles see a fully vegan lunch choice every day of the school year. The prior food services director proved that success with vegan meal choice every day of the school year was attainable with minimal outlay of expense. Healthy and environmentally sounds food choice is a basic human right.

Replace Manish Singh, now.