New Jersey moving to ban lunch shaming for school kids

David Madden
November 19, 2019 - 2:40 pm
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TRENTON, N.J. (KYW Newsradio) — A New Jersey Assembly committee has approved a series of measures aimed at addressing a growing issue in schools: who pays for a child’s meal if the family can’t or won’t.

We’ve all heard the stories recently of lunch shaming. These bills would, in effect, ban the practice of giving kids alternate meals or banning them from activities as well as provide state funds and allow charitable contributions to make up lunch debt.

The New Jersey Association of School Business Administrators suggests many families can afford to pay and just don’t.

Executive Director Susan Young told the Assembly Education Committee her group did not want kids to go hungry, but when asked how to ensure that wouldn’t happen, responded, “Well, that’s where I believe that what we need to do is we need to come up with better ways to address the issue.”

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Committee Chair Pamela Lampitt insisted feeding children in school should be a top priority, regardless of a parent’s ability to pay.

"It’s just like books. It’s just like a teacher,” she said. "It’s just like those other things that are so vital to the success of our children. Why is food being managed and talked about differently than books and teachers?"

The six-bill package cleared the committee with unanimous support. Proponents hope to get the measure on Gov. Murphy’s desk before the end of the year.