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New Mexico outlaws lunch shaming

New Mexico outlaws lunch shaming

In certain instances, cafeteria staff have been told to throw away hot lunches that students can not pay for and serve other alternatives like fruit, milk, or sandwiches. In others, children are forced to clean cafeteria tables in front of their peers to pay the debt. Further, all learning institutions in the state must champion efforts to educate families of students about federal lunch subsidies or the availability of cheaper options.

"This bill draws a line in the sand between the student and the unpaid school meal fees that their parents or guardians owe, oftentimes because they can not afford to pay on time", Jennifer Ramo, executive director of New Mexico Appleseed in the Food Research & Action Center, said in a statement.

"It sounds like some scene from 'Little Orphan Annie, ' but it happens every day".

The state is believed to be the first in the country to make "lunch shaming" by schools illegal.

This is necessary, because somehow, shaming children has become a trend.

Governor Susana Martinez signed the "Hunger Free Students Bill of Rights" on Thursday, forbidding school districts from singling out the children of delinquent parents in order to shame them into paying overdue school lunch fees.

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"I made Mrs. Ortiz and Mrs. Jackson, our school lunch ladies, my best friends". It aims to end the practice of embarrassing students by making schools work with their parents to pay lunch debts, or to help them attain federal meal assistance. "Many children count on school meals for the nutrition they need to be able to learn and thrive in the classroom".

Others schools make students wear wrist bands, or do chores.

A nation-wide survey by the School Nutrition Association found that three-quarters of school districts reported unpaid student meal debt, ranging anywhere from a few thousand dollars to over $4 million.

Most districts try to collect outstanding balances through automated calls, texts or emails, and they may also hire an outside collection agency.

A New Mexico school lunch law went into effect last week. What are your thoughts about the New Mexico school lunch law?

Some school employees reach into their own pockets to pay for meals. He told the Times that "it was really noticeable" to other children that he was growing up in poverty.


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