GardenShare

GardenShare

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

SCHOOLS “SHAMING” CHILDREN TO GET LUNCH MONEY


Holding children publicly accountable for unpaid school lunch bills — by throwing away their food, providing a less desirable alternative lunch, or branding them with markers — is often referred to as “lunch shaming.” The practice is widespread — a 2014 USDA report found that nearly half of all school districts used some form of shaming to compel parents to pay bills. (About 45% withheld the hot meal and gave a cold sandwich, while 3% denied food entirely.) The problem of meal debt is not new, but the issue has received more attention recently because the Agriculture Department, which oversees school meal programs, imposed a July 1 deadline for states to establish policies on how to treat children whose parents cannot pay for food. In 2016, the School Nutrition Association published a review of almost 1,000 school lunch programs, finding that nearly 75% of districts had unpaid meal debt.  A Department guidance document suggests that districts ask their community for help, for example through “random acts of kindness” funding and school fundraisers.

Source: NYT, 4/30/17, Lunch Shaming