ST. PAUL, MN—Rep. Tony Jurgens, R-Cottage Grove, issued the following statement about Tuesday's news that Richfield Public Schools threw away more than 40 hot lunches for students who had outstanding lunch debts of $15 or more. Jurgens is the chief author of bipartisan legislation to clarify existing state law to ensure that dumping of meals and other lunch-shaming tactics are not imposed on students.
"We need to let kids be kids — there is no reason to be wasting food and shaming students because of account balance issues. School districts need to find a better way to resolve school lunch debts in a way that doesn't demean children. This incident underscores why we need to clarify state law to prevent lunch dumping and make sure school districts understand this practice is unacceptable."
Jurgens' bill passed off the floor as a provision within the House Education Omnibus bill. The bill also clarifies that students who qualify for free or reduced lunch cannot be refused a hot meal if they have a negative account balance because the state has already paid for the hot lunch.