Caterer blamed for bad food

Caterer blamed for bad food

Poor meals at school stirs investigation

Students, teachers, parents, and alumni have defended the director of Maheyong School, who was transferred on Tuesday over a school lunch scandal. They believe she is not at fault for the poor quality of meals.

Amporn Dankhongrak, the director, was hit with a sudden transfer after a video clip of students at the school queuing up to receive what appeared to be "leftovers" for lunch surfaced online and grabbed media attention.

An investigation is underway even though the director was transferred to Nakhon Si Thammarat municipality's education unit.

Thanet Pransuk, vice-president of the school's alumni, issued a statement on behalf of the group calling for a speedy probe into the scandal, saying if the director is in the clear, she should be reinstated.

He said Ms Amporn was praised for being a decent and capable school director who worked closely with parents in raising funds to finance various development projects for the school without having to wait for budget approval from the Nakhon Si Thammarat municipality.

The projects included the installation of TV monitors in the classroom for educational purposes and a repaint of the school building, he said.

Mr Amporn insists the quality of school lunches took a hit after the municipality changed the caterer. It was not related to the head teacher's actions as such.

The school used to manage its own lunch programme until the office made the change and awarded a single caterer the concession to provide meals for all municipality-run schools including Maheyong School.

The committee inspecting the quality of the lunch should be held responsible for what happened as well, while the caterer should be banned from supplying the meals to the schools, he said.

A closed-door meeting was held at the Maheyong School on Thursday as part of the ongoing investigation. Ms Amporn also attended the meeting.

Khanchit Manunphol, deputy mayor of Nakhon Si Thammarat who also attended the meeting, said findings from the investigation are expected today.

Mr Khanchit admitted the caterer who won the concession had sub-contracted the job of cooking the lunch to other caterers.

The alumni said the sub-contracting arrangement showed Ms Amporn had nothing to do with the lunch scandal. They urged the deputy mayor to reinstate the director.

Mr Khanchit pleaded for more time to finish the investigation.

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