The law will ensure that children are not denied a full lunch because of their parents’ debt
Students in California whose families owe money for school lunches will no longer be given only a snack — a cheese stick, an apple and a glass of milk — or nothing at all, until they’re all paid up. They’ll get the same meal as all the other students.
That’s because Gov. Brown signed SB 250, authored by Sen. Robert Hertzberg, D-Los Angeles. The law will ensure that children are not denied a full lunch because of their parents’ debt. The bill will also end “meal shaming,” the practice used in some districts across the nation of verbally reprimanding students in the lunch line or stamping children’s hands as a reminder to their parents they owe money.
Seeing legislation coming, this year Elk Grove Unified ended its policy of giving kids in debt only a cheese sandwich. Michelle Drake, director of Food and Nutrition Services for the district, told the Sacramento Bee that food service workers encouraged the switch. “It’s just not good for our children and it’s difficult on the staff. The last thing they want to see is a 3rd-grader and 4th-grader with that look on their face. We have changed it up for this school year.”