In a recent Facebook post to a community page, Tracey Levesque, a former Auburn School Committee chairwoman and wife of Mayor Jason Levesque, questioned the School Department’s lunch policy, which does not serve pork products in prekindergarten through grade six. 

The basis of Levesque’s post was a widely circulated story from 2015, which turned out to be fake, regarding a mayor of a Montreal, Quebec, suburb that, according to the false story, refused to remove pork from its school menu. 

It turns out the mayor of Dorval, the Montreal suburb, did not make any such statements, and the city even responded by denouncing the “false news circulating on the internet.” 

In Auburn, according to Superintendent Katy Grondin, the district has served pork products only in grades seven to 12 for at least the past decade. 

Grondin said the initial change occurred when the number of Muslim students in the district was rising, and there were concerns, particularly in the elementary grades, that students would consume food they did not intend to.

She said the department first responded by marking each product, but it became too labor intensive. She said the majority of items are also kosher in those grades. 


In grades seven to 12, she said, students are typically thought to be old enough to be able to correctly identify the products that contain pork. 

Grondin said the district has not received any complaints about the policy over the many years it’s been in place, and that the School Committee has not received any inquiries about reviewing the policy. 

Asked about her concerns Friday, Levesque said she came across the story about Dorval, Quebec — not realizing it was a hoax — and thought it was “an interesting take” and posted it to the Facebook page for Auburn parents. 

In the post, she said the Dorval story reminded her of conversations she had had years ago with Grondin about Auburn’s policy.

“Maybe re-evaluate?” she said in the post. 

Levesque said Friday that she has no plans to officially urge the School Department to review its food policies, and that she doesn’t remember any complaints from parents about the policy during her time on the School Committee. 

In Lewiston, Superintendent Bill Webster said the district serves pork in all grades, but all pork products are “labeled with a yellow sign that includes a picture of a pig, along with a description in multiple languages.” 

According to the Portland Public Schools’ food service department, “pork is not on a menu unless there are other choices (on the menu) that do not have pork as an ingredient.” The department states it always offers at least one vegetarian option. 

— Andrew Rice 

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