automatic News for 10-28-2019

Florida man pays off lunch debt for 400 children

NJ students with lunch debt could face penalties

A New Jersey school district is stirring up controversy over school lunch debt. The Cherry Hill Public Schools district wants to bar students from attending prom, field trips and extracurricular activities if they owe $75 in school lunch debt, according to WTHR.Although school board members have said that the penalty would be imposed on an individual basis, that hasn’t stopped a flood of national outcry against the district, according to the Courier-Post.Democratic presidential hopefuls swooped in to rebuke it and to offer their platforms on school lunch and education. Her opponent, Sen. Bernie Sanders tweeted that he wants to get rid of all school lunch debt. My plan will push to cancel student breakfast and lunch debt and increase funding to school meals programs so all students can get a nutritious meal. 

As president, I will fight for universal free school lunch and relieve all school lunch debt. Co/ozYTUtGojL.- Cory Booker October 22, 2019 Figuring out how to get rid of school lunch debt in a noncontroversial way has been difficult for the Cherry Hill Public Schools district. The school district cleared $25,000 in school lunch debt in 2017, but it is already back up to $16,500, according to the Courier-Post.In August, school board members proposed only offering tuna fish sandwiches to students who owed between $10 and $20 in debt, reported WTHR. Students who owed more than $20 would have been denied meals altogether under that plan. A local businessman offered to get rid of the debt in September, but the school board has been against donations that would clear the debt because it could deter identifying families who do need help covering the cost of lunches, according to the Courier-Post.School districts are allowed to withhold school lunches from students who have not settled their lunch debt after a period of time and notices, according to the newspaper. 

The Cherry Hill Public Schools district had not been enforcing that policy, but that changed when new debt emerged and notices went unanswered, according to WTHR.School lunch debt is common, according to the School Nutrition Association, which released a report this year stating that 75 percent of school districts have student lunch debt. The report said student lunch debt is most common in districts with a low prevalence of free or reduced lunch. About 20 percent of students in the Cherry Hill Public Schools district are considered economically disadvantaged, according to NBC News’s review of New Jersey’s Department of Education information. Cherry Hill Public Schools Superintendent Joseph Meloche told the Courier-Post last week that all children in his district are fed. 

Keywords: [“school”,”lunch”,”debt”]

It’s Time to Check Your School’s Lunch Debt Policy

School lunches-and the policies that shame the kids of parents who have lunch debt-are in the news again. A school in New Jersey is reportedly now banning students from extra-curricular activities, such as dances and field trips, if their parents owe more than $75. It’s a terrible policy that replaces its previous terrible policy. While we wait on the fate of that bill, parents should be aware of the policies around lunch debt within their own schools. If you’re not sure how lunch debt is handled at your child’s school, now is the time to find out-especially if you’re a parent who can afford to pay the bill and wants to be an ally to those who might be struggling. 

If your school does anything that singles out the children of parents with lunch debt, it’s time to get involved for the sake of your kid’s peers, who are not responsible for this bill or deserving of any shame related to it. If your school has a PTA or PTO, consider contacting the group’s president to call a parent meeting on the issue to get input from other parents about the policy and ways to support the parents who are in debt. As a group or individually, you can meet with school or district administrators to discuss your concerns and suggestions. Ultimately, if there is an inappropriate policy in place and no willingness among administrators to champion a change, you’ll need to take your concerns directly to the school board, which approves such policies. Juliana Cohen, an adjunct assistant professor of nutrition at Harvard University, tells Popular Science that facing stigma around school lunches can negatively impact kids’ mental health and stress levels. 

That’s seen with kids who feel labeled by receiving school lunch, for example. On the whole, Cohen says schools are getting better at free meals, but not lunch debt. Hopefully you’ll find that your school doesn’t serve exclusively cheese or tuna sandwiches to the kids of parents with lunch debt or ban them from the next fun extracurricular activity. 

Keywords: [“School”,”parent”,”policy”]

School-lunch debt: NJ district plan could block access to dances

CHERRY HILL, N.J. – A New Jersey school district may have thought they moved past a controversy when they approved a new policy last week for handling unpaid lunch charges. The Cherry Hill Public Schools district’s plan, approved Oct. 15, could bar students with unpaid charges from extracurricular activities, such as field trips or school dances, until the debt is paid. School changes lunch policy after taking away student’s cheesy breadsticks on his birthday. School officials have expressed exasperation, with Superintendent Joseph Meloche observing no student has been denied a meal due to unpaid cafeteria charges. Another reason for avoiding donations is that they might inadvertently cover bills for families who are able to pay for school lunches, officials have said. 

School board members have said families that can afford to pay their children’s lunch charges should be required to do so. 500,000 kids could lose free school lunch under Trump administration proposal. CEO tries to play hero, pay for students’ late lunch bills: School board says no. The school board in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, approved a new policy for handling overdue lunch payments Oct. 15, 2019.The district said the public is welcome to contribute to its Friday Food Backpack Program, launched last year with a $25,000 grant that has since run out. Cherry Hill cleared $25,000 in school lunch debt two years ago to start with a clean slate. The protracted and highly public debate began over the summer as the Cherry Hill school district began discussions over how to address the debt. 

Once the school board began considering enforcement of other existing policies – including one that allowed for an alternate lunch such as tuna-fish sandwiches for students with delinquent lunch accounts – the issue exploded into a national controversy. 

Keywords: [“school”,”lunch”,”district”]