automatic News for 10-22-2019

Mother upset about 'lunch shaming' at Lebanon schools

CHERRY HILL – The board of education gave unanimous approval Tuesday night to a change in policy regarding school lunch accounts that are overdue in township public schools. Every district in New Jersey is required to have a policy addressing students whose accounts are in arrears. In the two years that Cherry Hill’s policy has been in effect, the district has absorbed more than $14,000 in unpaid lunch bills, according to schools Superintendent Joseph Meloche. Under the new policy, students whose debut reaches at least $40 would be banned from the prom, senior class trip, school dances, buying a yearbook, or participating in after-school events and class trips until payment is made, according to a copy of the plan posted by the Philadelphia Inquirer. Under the new plan, parents would be notified over the phone when the debts reach $10 and $25. 

If the debt reaches $75, parents would be required to attend an in-person meeting. Students whose accounts are behind would be able to eat lunch from the standard meal choice of the day, but would not be able to choose from other available a la carte options. During discussion of the policy at the board’s Sept. 24 meeting, Board Vice President Lisa Saidel compared the policy to the one in place to handle overdue library book debt, which she said has been in place for many years without complaint. The Cherry Hill school board voted 9-0 on Tuesday night to amend its lunch debt policy after hearing from several people with objections to the policy, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer’s coverage of the meeting. One of the goals of the policy was to identify families who are in need and to get them assistance, Board President Eric Goodwin said, according to coverage by the Cherry Hill Courier-Post. 

Meloche said that the policy would be implemented at the discretion of school principals. California just made it law that students cannot be barred from receiving a lunch or treated differently even with a debt. The bill guarantees all students a state-funded meal of their choice, even if their parent or guardian has unpaid meal fees. 

Keywords: [“policy”,”board”,”student”]

A tale of “lunch shaming”

Another day, another tale of a strange California bill signed into law by Governor Gavin Newsom. Rather than more gun control laws or job opportunities for illegal aliens, this one has to do with school lunch programs. As it turns out, most schools have at least some students who can’t pay for their lunch. If they run up a suitably large bill, some districts begin serving them a less expensive, more basic lunch rather than the presumably tastier fare being given to those who pay the full amount. As Michael Graham points out at Inside Sources, this means that schools are suddenly going to start serving a lot more free meals. 

While their classmates cruised the cafeteria buffet line, these students were either limited to a basic, no-frills lunch or given a cold meal, like a sunbutter-and-jelly sandwich, fruit, and milk. They need to have their lunch even if they are too poor to afford it. First of all, there are plenty of kids from poor families in California who already get their lunch for free. Others with slightly more income, but still near the poverty line can get a major discount in the form of a forty cent lunch. So the fault possibly lies with the parents who just don’t give the kids lunch money. 

In the other states that have passed these laws, the number of unpaid lunches has dramatically increased. California keeps passing these feel-good, woke laws left and right. 

Keywords: [“lunch”,”school”,”law”]

California bans school “lunch-shaming”

In Warwick, Rhode Island, students were told they would get sunflower butter and jelly sandwiches. A district in Pennsylvania threatened to put delinquent students in foster care. The stories aren’t pleasant, pitting local school districts with tight budget margins against families who often have few options to pay the debt. What passes for a happy ending is increasingly a benefactor who pays off a slew of debt. In a particular district, a temporary solution at best. 

One of those donors recently caught the eye of California’s Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom, who signed statewide legislation banning lunch shaming this weekend. Kyote, a third-grader in Napa Valley, California, saved up his allowance to pay off $74.80 in debt accrued by his classmates. He had an opportunity to meet Newsom earlier in the year, and made a case for why shaming is such a harmful practice. Signed on Saturday, California’s new legislation will go into effect immediately. Beleaguered school districts note that the issue is not cut-and-dried, as unpaid lunch debts can put their own budgets underwater. 

California is not the first state to enact a ban on lunch shaming. This issue is also receiving attention on a national level: Democratic legislators Representative Ilhan Omar and Senator Tina Smith, both of Minnesota, introduced the No Shame At School Act. 

Keywords: [“Lunch”,”debt”,”school”]