In August, the governor tweeted out a picture with the young man, too:
In practice, the bill, authored by state Sen. Robert Hertzberg, ensures that all students will receive the meal of their choice, regardless of whether or not the student has accrued unpaid lunch “debt.” This means that kids won’t be punished, and to a degree, neither will parents or guardians. For people who may have multiple children in school, or simply other, more immediate expenses to worry about, wondering whether or not their child will be denied food or bullied by their peers will be one less thing on their, ahem, plate. The bill also addresses how to effectively contact parents and guardians.
On the technical level, SB 265 amends the Child Hunger Prevention and Fair Treatment Act of 2017. SB 265 requires education agencies, charter schools, and school districts to null policies that ask school officials to give out those alternative meals to students with debt.
Studies, of course, confirm that students do better in school and exhibit better behavior when they’re fed. Even if nutrition didn’t impact school performance, though, feeding hungry children is a baseline for doing the ethical, right thing.
On a similar scale, Minnesota Democrats Sen. Tina Smith and Rep. Ilhan Omar, introduced a bill earlier this year to combat school lunch debt shaming. In short, the bill would ban practices that single out students who have school lunch debt. And schools who abide by the new rules and don’t shame hungry kids? They’d get reimbursed by the federal government for the cost of the meals.
At least that way, no one will be threatened with having their kids sent to foster care over school lunch “debt.” And kids will be fed!