TRENTON, N.J. (CBS) — There’s an effort to end “lunch shaming” in New Jersey schools. Assembly members have written several bills that would prohibit school districts from treating students differently if their school lunch bill is not paid.
The move comes after several recent incidents, including at Cherry Hill public schools.
The district previously denied students who owed more than $10 a hot meal, but that policy was changed last month.
“There has been a lot of scrutiny in recent months about the handling of student meal debt and I believe we’ve lost sight of the most integral part of this issue, student well-being,” said state Rep. Pamela Lampitt. “Proper nutrition is essential to a child’s success in the classroom; it is also crucial to their social and emotional development. Punishing or shaming them for debt before addressing the underlying cause with families does not enhance positive learning outcomes. It only reinforces harmful stigma.”
The bills now go to the Assembly speaker to decide the next move.