Bill to End ‘Food Shaming’ in Maine Schools Gets Approval
Maine wants to end making kids feel bad if they can't afford a school lunch.
Currently, if a child can't pay for a lunch, or has a delinquent account, in some schools they won't get a hot lunch, get a stamp on their hand, or get put on a 'list' that everyone can see.
The Press Herald Reports,
The bill, sponsored by Rep. Janice Dodge, D-Belfast, would specifically prevent a school from punishing or refusing a meal as a form of disciplinary action, or openly identifying or stigmatizing a student who cannot pay or owes money.
Right now if a kid doesn't have enough money in their account, some withhold hot meals or even give them something less than a good lunch, like a bagel and an apple. This bill would avoid punishing the kid, and get to the root of the problem.
Those against this say that people just won't pay their bill. Some can't pay the bill because they are having a hard time making ends meet but too proud to sign up for free or reduced lunches. Some just didn't pay. Some school districts (Cape Elizabeth) decided to absorb the cost of those who couldn't pay, and hire someone to collect the money from those who can pay.
The Press Herald reports that the Education and Cultural Affairs Committee on Wednesday approved the bill. It now heads to the House.
I'm all for this. Why use the kid as a way of getting the money. This is the grown ups problem to tackle - leave the kids out of it.