Protecting students from food stigmatization

When students get a negative balance on their lunch account, it puts the student (and the child nutrition employees) in an embarrassing position.  Child nutrition employees are in a difficult position as the middle person trying to help the student eat food and at the same time follow school district policy to collect the money.  Maybe this bill will help this tortuous situation.  The House approved what they call the hunger-free students’ bill of rights act, HB 2610, on a strong 59-39 bi-partisan vote.

Regardless of the circumstance for the non-payment, the bill:

….Prohibits schools and districts from taking action directed at a student to collect unpaid school meal fees or from publicly identifying or stigmatizing a student who cannot pay for a school meal;

….Prohibits the denial or delay of a nutritionally adequate meal because of disciplinary action taken against a student;

….Requires at least 10 days notification to parents that they have a negative balance;

…. Requires schools and districts to improve systems to identify homeless students, students in foster care, runaway students, and migrant students to ensure that each student has proper access to free school meals and that applicable accountability and reporting requirements are satisfied.

2610 now heads to the Senate for their consideration.

 

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