A new bill would prevent school districts from stigmatizing kids who are unable to pay for their lunches.
State Sen. Steve Stadelman (D-Rockford) helped pass SB 2428 through a committee Wednesday. The bill would forbid school districts from forcing students who cannot pay for a meal from wearing a special wristband or handstamp, or even seeing their lunch thrown away.
“Lunch shaming punishes kids for the mistakes of their parents,” Stadelman said. “Every student, no matter what their background or parents’ income level, deserves to eat. In some cases, this may be the only hot meal the students eat all day.”
The bill would require schools to provide meals to every student who requests one. The school can later contact the parents directly to request payment, but cannot throw the meal out or otherwise force the student to wear a marker for not paying for the lunch.
The bill is heading to the Senate floor for a vote.