Thursday, May 11, 2017

Senator Casey Introduces Bill Prohibiting Schools From 'Lunch Shaming'

Senator Bob Casey has introduced a bill which would prohibit schools from 'lunch shaming' students.

The Anti-Shaming Lunch Act bans schools from singling out children if their parents have not paid their school meal bill.

"It is completely absurd that students would be shamed at school based on their inability to purchase food,” said Sen. Casey. “I am confident that this legislation will do its part to stop students suffering from humiliation for circumstances outside of their control. This is bullying and I am saddened that we have to write legislation to ensure it ends.”

Casey says in a press release that schools have required students to wear wristbands or hand stamps, do extra chores or thrown away the child's meal if there is debt.

"Children who have no ability to pay their debts shouldn't be shamed, punished at school or even go hungry because their parents can't pay their school meal bills," Sen. Tom Udall said. "Shaming students or requiring extra chores from kids who need help paying for lunch is inexcusable — not only does it stigmatize our most vulnerable children, it takes away from time they can be spending on schoolwork or with their peers. This meal shaming can sometimes stand in the way of students' only healthy meal of the day — we can't expect our kids to succeed in the classroom if they are hungry. I'm proud of New Mexico for being the first state to outlaw this harmful practice and will do everything I can in the Senate to pass this legislation on a federal level so no child will have to spend their time at school feeling ashamed of a debt they have no power to pay."

The bill would also make the application process for free or reduced price lunches simpler.