Hello from St. Paul,
This week, the Minnesota House Education Innovation Policy Committee heard my bill that prevents the shaming of students who lack school lunch money.
Late last year, news reports highlighted a school in Stewartville where students with negative school lunch balances had their meals tossed in the garbage, which is unacceptable. Since that report, I've heard from parents and others in other school districts in the metro area with similar experiences of having a child's lunch dumped because their lunch account lacked sufficient funding. Since 2014, a law was put on the books to prevent exactly this sort of action, yet it happens anyway.
In order to help strengthen the current law, my proposal would require the Minnesota Department of Education to review its lunch policies and require individual school districts to put its lunch funding policy on its website, otherwise funding would be withheld.
I’ll soon be amending some new language onto this bill in order to increase its likelihood of House approval. It doesn’t go as far as I’d like, but it does seem to align with what other stakeholders and the Department of Education would like to see accomplished.
With all the attention we give to kids who bully and demean others, it is embarrassing that some adults in a lunchroom think it’s perfectly fine to embarrass a child with no lunch money. There is no scenario where lunchroom shaming should be allowed.
Have a good weekend,