automatic News for 12-04-2019

Gov. Newsom signs new bill to prevent lunch shaming in schools

Collins, Udall Legislation to Ban School Lunch Shaming Nationwide Passes Senate

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Susan Collins announced that the Senate has advanced a funding bill by a vote of 84-9 that includes an amendment she authored with Senator Tom Udall to prevent lunch shaming. Senators Collins and Udall’s amendment, which is based on a bill they introduced in April titled the Anti-Lunch Shaming Act, would ban schools from singling out children – such as by requiring them to wear hand stamps or do extra chores – because their parents or guardians have not paid their school meal bills. It would direct the USDA to provide additional guidance to program operators to address the ongoing issue of shaming school children for unpaid school lunch fees. Under the provision, schools would be encouraged to identify approaches that protect children from public embarrassment; communicate outstanding unpaid school lunch fees with the parent or guardian, not the child; and take additional steps to ensure that all students who qualify for free and reduced meals are efficiently enrolled to receive them. 

According to a 2014 report by the USDA, nearly half of all school districts used some form of lunch shaming to compel parents to pay for their child’s school meals. Often, students’ hot lunches are taken away and replaced with an alternative meal, such as a cold cheese sandwich. In other cases, children are forced to do chores in front of their peers, made to wear wristbands or handstamps declaring their inability to pay, or have their lunch thrown out as their friends and classmates look on. Stories continue to be told from across the country about practices of lunch shaming affecting students inside and out of school cafeterias. Some of the states that have passed legislation to prohibit lunch shaming include: Maine, New Mexico, Virginia, California, Hawaii, Oregon, Texas, Iowa, Washington, Illinois, New York, and Pennsylvania; a variety of other state legislatures are currently considering measures to address this shameful practice. 

Keywords: [“school”,”lunch”,”student”]
Source: https://www.collins.senate.gov/newsroom/collins-udall-legislation-ban-school-lunch-shaming-nationwide-passes-senate

Udall’s Provision to Combat Lunch Shaming Passes Senate

WASHINGTON- U.S. Senator Tom Udall announced that his provision directing the U.S. Department of Agriculture to prevent the practice of lunch shaming passed the Senate as part of the FY 2020 Agriculture Appropriations Bill. The anti-lunch shaming provision is based on the bipartisan legislation Udall and Collins introduced in April. The language directs the Secretary of Agriculture to provide additional guidance to program operators to curb the ongoing cruel practice of shaming school children for unpaid school lunch fees. 

Under the provision, schools would be encouraged to identify approaches that protect children from public embarrassment; communicate outstanding unpaid school lunch fees with the parent or guardian, not the child; and take additional steps to ensure that all students who qualify for free and reduced meals are efficiently enrolled to receive them. For some students, meal shaming stands between them and their only meal of the day. No child should ever have to go to the school cafeteria and be publicly humiliated because they cannot afford their lunch. According to a 2014 report by the USDA, nearly half of all school districts used some form of lunch shaming to compel parents to pay for child’s school meals. Often, students’ hot lunches are taken away and replaced with an alternative meal, such as a cold cheese sandwich. 

In other cases, children are forced to do chores in front of their peers, made to wear wristbands or handstamps declaring their inability to pay, or have their lunch thrown out as their friends and classmates look on. Stories continue to be told from across the country about practices of lunch shaming affecting students inside and out of school cafeterias. In March of 2017, New Mexico passed the first law in the United States to prohibit lunch shaming. This legislation, championed by New Mexico Appleseed, gained national attention and spurred a number of other states to pass legislation combating lunch shaming. 

Keywords: [“lunch”,”shaming”,”school”]
Source: https://www.tomudall.senate.gov/news/press-releases/udalls-provision-to-combat-lunch-shaming-passes-senate

‘Lunch shaming’: New Jersey students with $75 debt barred from dances and trips

A school district in New Jersey has become the latest to punish its students for being unable to afford to pay for lunch. The Cherry Hill school board, which oversees 19 schools and about 11,000 students, agreed last week to prohibit students whose lunch debt is more than $75 from participating in extra-curricular activities such as school dances or trips. They will also be barred from purchasing a yearbook. Previously, the board had attempted to serve only tuna sandwiches to students with debt – something that prompted an outcry and was condemned as lunch-shaming. The school board says students who are in debt will not be prevented from receiving the necessary sustenance. 

Meloche has denied an offer from a local businessman who offered to settle the remaining balance of roughly $15,000. The story is just the latest in the widespread problem of children getting into debt over school lunch costs, following controversies in Wisconsin, Minnesota, Michigan, Florida and elsewhere. In Washington DC last year, tens of thousands of students accumulated almost a half a million dollars in debt. 

Keywords: [“school”,”debt”,”students”]
Source: https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2019/oct/23/new-jersey-lunch-debt-barred-dances-field-trips