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Gov. Cuomo signs legislation prohibiting schools from suing parents over unpaid meal fees

The law builds on the governor's "No Student Goes Hungry" program.

ALBANY, N.Y. — Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed legislation Thursday that prohibits schools from filing lawsuits against parents and guardians for unpaid meal fees. The law helps protect families from legal tactics related to their inability to make payments for school meals. 

"Taking families to court over unpaid school meals is cruel, draconian, and runs counter to a school's fundamental mission to ensure the wellbeing of every student," Cuomo said. "This legislation builds upon this administration's work to end lunch shaming in New York and makes it clear that no family in need should have to endure a burdensome and costly legal process over their children's nutritional health."

The new law builds on Cuomo's "No Student Goes Hungry" program.

In 2018, New York State took action against "meal shaming" of students in public schools, making sure students who have unpaid school meal fees do not get treated differently than other students. 

As part of the recovery from the COVID pandemic, the United States Department of Agriculture has announced that school meals provided through the National School Lunch Program will be provided free of charge to all students through June 2022.