NYS bill would prevent 'lunch shaming'

NYS Bill Proposed To Prevent 'Lunch Shaming'

ALBANY, N.Y. -- You've probably heard the stories. 

Students in one district stamped with the words "lunch money."

Others forced to do chores. 

And some were given only two slices of bread with a piece of cheese, all because their "parents" either wouldn't, or couldn't, pay for their meals. 

Here in New York State, two lawmakers introduced a bill that would do a couple of things. 

It would force districts to make sure all students who are eligible for free or reduced meals are actually signed up for the program. Secondly, it would prohibit schools from reporting students who can't pay, or who end up with meal debt. 

It would also be against the law to force those students to do chores, or to get alternative meals. Poverty advocates say we shouldn't even be at this point, where it takes legislation to deal with this. 

"Stop humiliating children," says Jennifer Ramo, of the Appleseed Poverty Center. "It should not take a state law or a federal law to do that. What we need to do is feed the children and work out the debt with the adults."

Bills to prevent lunch shaming have already passed in two states: California and New Mexico. Several other states, like New York, have proposals that are pending now. 

© 2017 WGRZ-TV


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