New Mexico bans 'lunch shaming'
When Denver stopped lunch-shaming, debt from unpaid meals skyrocketed – The Denver Post
After the Denver schools chief made a high-profile announcement last August guaranteeing a full meal to students whether or not they had the money to pay, many advocates cheered the end of so-called “Lunch-shaming” in the 92,000-student district. Then came an unpleasant surprise: Debt from unpaid lunches soared, rising to $356,000 from $13,000 the year before. Denver’s exploding meal debt – amounting to roughly 900 unpaid lunches every school day of the year – illustrates the balancing act districts nationwide face amid growing public support for policies prohibiting lunch-shaming. Such shaming often involves giving students who can’t pay small, alternative meals, putting stickers or stamps on them to remind their parents to pay, or even throwing out their meals. In the last couple years, a growing number of districts nationwide have established policies to curb lunch-shaming. Including New York, Iowa, and New Mexico, have passed statewide legislation with the same goals. The idea behind such measures is to free students from the burden of debt they have no power to pay and ensure they don’t go hungry at school. With school districts obligated to pay for the meals, food service leaders are often left scrambling to cover mounting costs. The school lunch debt is one reason Denver district officials quietly introduced snacks such as Doritos and Rice Krispies Treats in elementary school cafeteria lines late this past winter. The new additions, seen as unhealthy by some parents, helped generate around $41,000 in new revenue for the nutrition services department. Chalkbeat Colorado is a nonprofit news organization covering education issues.
Reports of ‘lunch shaming’ prompt Greenwood Schools to suspend policy
Two days before summer break, Greenwood schools won’t enforce its cold-sandwich policy after a kindergarten student’s family said she was shamed because she didn’t have money to pay for lunch. “We’re not worrying about the next two days,” Superintendent Kent DeKoninck told IndyStar Wednesday. “We are not making that an issue with regard to lunches.” The district garnered negative attention this week after reports that Southwest Elementary School cafeteria workers “Lunch shamed” a kindergarten student on Friday, when they took away a tray of hot food and replaced it with a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. The school and her family are now “On the same page,” he said. Greenwood’s cafeteria policy, like that of many suburban districts, calls for students to be served an “Alternate meal” when their individual cafeteria funds dipped into the red. The Indiana Department of Education follows federal guidelines and allows these alternate meals as long as districts spell out the policy for parents. Noblesville school shooting 911 calls still haunt dispatchers. Greenwood Schools notifies parents when lunch accounts dip below $5. It typically allows students to charge up to two lunches before they get cut off, but DeKoninck said they don’t allow any cafeteria debts during the last two weeks of the school year. DeKonink said the district plans to review its meal charging policy. The controversy comes as discussion of alternate meals is gaining attention nationwide. A Rhode Island school recently changed its policy after an outcry.
What Parents Need to Know About Lunch Shaming
Read on to learn about the horror that is lunch shaming and what can be done about it. In some schools, the differences are minimal and barely noticeable but children in many schools are experiencing something called lunch shaming and it may affect their education. In this article, we’ll explore the subject of lunch shaming to discover what it is and how it affects public school students. We’ll also take a closer look at the incentives behind lunch shaming and what some people are doing to prevent it. What about school lunch programs? They certainly exist, but they don’t always work in the way they are intended to. Lunch shaming is done to overtly identify and stigmatize children who don’t have the money to buy a school meal. There are a number of ways in which lunch shaming manifests. The announcement sparked such a fierce backlash that the public raised of $75,000 in a single week to resolve all of the lunch debt Warwick schools had accrued. When Gov. Gavin Newsom caught wind of the story, he started working on a new bill with the hopes of ending lunch shaming. Many of the school districts that adopt lunch shaming policies reportedly do so in an effort to collect debts. The fact that many of these debts remain unchanged from year to year suggests that lunch shaming policies don’t work, and schools need to take a different approach. Lunch shaming continues to be an issue in schools across the nation and the bigger issue behind it, child hunger, will be even more difficult to resolve.
Arizona bill would ban ‘school lunch shaming’ over unpaid meal fees
Students who can’t pay for school lunch shouldn’t be forced to eat something different from the other kids or have to work off the expense, an Arizona lawmaker says. Sen. Martin Quezada, D-Phoenix, has introduced legislation to ban what he calls “School lunch shaming.” Senate Bill 1036 sets forth seven stipulations regarding how schools must address unpaid meal fees. In April, New Mexico passed the “Hunger-Free Students’ Bill of Rights.” It directed any school that receives federal subsidies to prohibit actions that might call attention to a student that can’t pay for a school meal. Forbid schools from requiring a student to do chores or other work to pay off meal fees. Require schools to notify parents or guardians of a negative school meal account within 10 days. Allow schools to try to collect unpaid school meal fees, but would forbid them from using a debt collector. Allow schools to set up a fund and collect donations to help pay students’ unpaid meal fees. Heidi Vega, spokeswoman for the Arizona School Boards Association, said it’s too early to speculate about the impact of the bill. She did note the specificity of the 10-day window in which schools must notify parents of unpaid fees. Quezada said he understands the bill would make it more difficult for schools to collect unpaid debt, but he thinks the result is worth the effort. Arizona schools hired 1,035 underqualified teachers this school year.