Lunch shaming over school lunch debt becomes national problem
Reporting on School Lunch Debt
Cumulative national data on school lunch debt is not available. CNN reported that 75 percent of school districts had lunch debt in the 2016-2017 school year. The average median lunch debt rose $500 more-or from $2,000 to $2,500-according to a survey of 1,500 school districts by the School Nutrition Association. 40 percent of school districts reported a rise in students without adequate funds for school lunches. Look into which states have school lunch debt, or have free or reduced meal programs, such as with California’s School Nutrition Programs. Yogurt company Chobani drew national attention for paying off an Idaho school district’s lunch debt. Advocacy groups such as School Lunch Fairy allow people to donate a certain amount to a school district of their choice. Currently, some politicians are raising awareness and attempting to end school lunch debt. If the student cannot pay, schools total up the debt and send a bill to the student’s parents/guardians at the end of the school year. Schools also implement forms of punishment, such as having students work off debt by cleaning the cafeteria in front of their peers, stamping students a “I Need Lunch Money” label, or withholding full meals altogether until the debt is paid. This bill will prohibit public identification of students, as well as have the federal government to reimburse meals for 90 days and ban schools from using debt collectors for school lunch debt, according to The Hill.Questions to ask. Is school lunch debt implemented in your area or school district? Are there free breakfast/lunch programs provided? Are they all government, or are there private enterprises? Meanwhile, are there community events or local businesses that offer free meals to low-income families?
As Dover deals with growing lunch debt, district faces backlash
Dover Area School District officials said Tuesday that they had a fiduciary responsibility to hire a collection agency to pursue families of students with lunch debt. Superintendent Tracy Krum addressed the criticism alleging that the district was going after students unnecessarily, especially those on free and reduced lunch. As the district has 50% low income enrollment, people believe the district is targeting recipients of free and reduced lunch, but district officials said that’s not the case. District business manager Jennifer Benko said although some of the debt comes from students on free and reduced lunch, much of it also comes from those who don’t qualify – and the families of those students just don’t want to pay. Dover joins many school districts statewide and nationally that are seeing repercussions from laws that prevent lunch shaming. More:Meal debt grows in York County schools following lunch shaming regulations. School officials in York County have consistently said their numbers of unpaid lunch debt increased at a much higher rate after the state law changed. More:South Western district turns to collection agency for lunch debt. More:South Western lunch debt collection elicits outcry. A petition against that district reached more than 500 signatures when residents misunderstood the move to mean the district would be coming after graduates themselves, not their families. More:’Feel-good’ donation wipes out Red Lion students’ lunch debt. The district has a lengthy process, including multiple phone calls throughout the summer and on-site assistance at the beginning of the school year, to get students on free and reduced lunch, as well as ensure all students receive the help they need when balances are low.
Here’s why students are the silent victims of America’s school lunch debt
School lunch debt is a burgeoning problem for students and parents in the US. According to non-profit group School Nutrition Association – which represents 58,000 school nutrition professionals across the US – 75 percent of responding districts reported having unpaid student meal debt at the end of the 2017/18 school year. Compared to previous SNA surveys, the median amount of unpaid meal debt per-district rose by 70 percent since the 2012/13 school year. Students often go hungry or are shamed when their parents are unable to pay or afford their school lunches. Other reports have found schools threatening to bar students from attending their graduation ceremonies. Over their school lunch debt, while a Rhode Island public school district served students with lunch debt a separate cold meal. Compared to students with balance in their lunch accounts. Reports such as these have raised questions over the ethics of addressing student lunch debt with students directly. For those eager to lend a helping hand, Dr Powell suggests creating a fund that allows community members to donate anonymously to help clear school debt. Would bar the board of a school district or its board of directors from publicly identifying or stigmatising a pupil who cannot pay for a school meal or who has school lunch debt by requiring them to wear a wristband or handstamp, among other means. They also cannot require students to perform chores or other work to pay for their school meals, and cannot communicate directly with pupils about a school meal debt unless certain requirements are met. What other schools can learn from Japan’s healthy school lunches. Parent-student lunches: Disruptive or positive involvement with the school experience?