|Posted:||May 3, 2017 10:29 AM|
|From:||Representative Donna Bullock|
|To:||All House members|
|Subject:||Co-Sponsorship – Prohibiting School “Lunch Shaming”|
|In the near future, I plan to introduce legislation that would prohibit the practice known as school lunch shaming, which happens to a child who is unable to pay a school lunch bill when his or her parents are behind on school lunch payments.
This legislation will be based on New Mexico’s recently enacted law, which outlaws shaming children whose parents are behind on school lunch payments. As you may know, in an effort to collect overdue payments for school lunches, some schools have ordered their cafeteria workers to throw away the hot lunches of children who owe money, or may make the children work to pay off the debt. This often leads to the child being humiliated and embarrassed in front of their peers, and many students have reacted with tears as their faces reflect the personal pain that accompanies being treated in such a manner. While I certainly appreciate the importance of holding parents accountable for paying the money they owe to the school for their child’s lunch, the practice of publicly shaming the child in order to collect the debt is shocking and completely unacceptable.
My bill will prohibit schools from requiring that a student throw away a meal after it has been served because of the student’s inability to pay for the meal or because money is owed for earlier meals. This legislation will also prohibit schools from publicly identifying or stigmatizing a student who cannot pay for a meal or who owes a meal debt by, for example, requiring that a student wear a wristband or hand stamp. Schools would also be prohibited from requiring such a child to do chores or work to pay for meals. In addition, schools would be required to direct communications regarding a student’s meal debt to a parent or guardian and not the student.
Please join me in co-sponsoring this legislation to end the horrific practice of shaming children. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact my office at (717) 787-3480.
Introduced as HB1403