Under a bill passed by the Iowa House, Iowa schools are no longer allowed to do actions that humiliate or “shame” a student because they cannot pay for their meal. Those actions include:
• Requiring the student to consume the meal at a table set aside for students who owe a meal debt.
• Have a student discard a meal after it has been served.
• Require a student to wear a wrist band, hand stamp, or other identifying marks, or do chores or work to pay for their meal.
• Denying participation in afterschool program or other extracurricular activities.
Schools are currently required to offer assistance to parents or guardians once a year in filling out Free and Reduced Lunch forms. Due to changing economic circumstances, this would now be required twice a year.
Some schools have set up a private account and accept donations to help pay for school lunch debt. The bill prevents the school from using those funds for another purpose (which has also happened in Iowa).
The bill now goes to the Senate for consideration.