Iowa has become the 9th state to pass a law protecting children from school lunch debt food shaming. Lawmakers in Louisiana and Maine are currently considering bills similar to Iowa’s legislation.
Under the bill, the following actions are no longer being allowed as these actions humiliate or “shame” a student because they cannot pay for the meal, including the following: 1) Requiring the student to consume the meal at a table set aside for students who owe a meal debt, 2) Have a student discard a meal after it has been served, 3) Require a student to wear a wrist band, hand stamp, or other identifying marks, or do chores or work to pay for their meal, or 4) Denying participation in afterschool program or other extracurricular activities.
Once a year schools are currently required to offer assistance to parents or guardians in filling out Free and Reduced-Priced Lunch forms. Due to changing economic circumstances, this would now be required twice a year.