School Climate & Safety News in Brief

Congressional Bill Aims to End ‘Lunch-Shaming’

By Evie Blad — May 16, 2017 1 min read

A group of federal lawmakers has proposed a bill that would ban “lunch shaming” in school cafeterias.

Lunch-shaming describes practices that single out children with unpaid school meal debts. The bill would require schools to communicate directly with parents about low school meal balances, prohibit schools from requiring students who can’t pay to, say, complete chores or wear wristbands to let their parents know they need lunch money, and bar schools from throwing out a child’s meal if he or she couldn’t pay after the food had been put on a tray.

But school food blogger Bettina Elias Siegel writes that the measure would not outlaw “the most common form of lunch shaming—giving a child an alternate meal, usually a cold cheese sandwich. ... Nor would the law ban the outright denial of a meal to a debt-ridden child.”

A version of this article appeared in the May 17, 2017 edition of Education Week as Congressional Bill Aims to End ‘Lunch-Shaming’

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