School lunch

Wikimedia/USDA

New Mexico Outlaws School ‘Lunch Shaming’

Schools in New Mexico will not be allowed to punish kids whose lunch balances are negative
School lunch

Wikimedia/USDA

New Mexico has banned schools from "lunch shaming" kids whose meal account balances are in the negative. 

In an attempt to end the practice of “lunch shaming,” New Mexico has just banned schools from punishing children whose lunch accounts are negative.

For various reasons, there are children across the U.S. whose guardians owe money on their school lunch accounts, and in most states the schools are allowed to punish the children when that happens. Some children are forced to clean the lunchrooms in front of their classmates to work off the debt. Sometimes schools have even thrown away a child’s hot meal and replaced it with a so-called “shame sandwich,” which is a slice of cheese between two slices of white bread. According to the New York Times, one Alabama school put “I Need Lunch Money” on a child’s arm with a rubber stamp.

Related

New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez has signed a new bill called the “Hunger-Free Students’ Bill of Rights,” and it specifies that if a child’s meal balance is behind, schools must work with the child’s guardians to either get the account paid or have them sign up for meal assistance. Schools will not be allowed to publicly target the children for punishment, but they will be allowed to withhold transcripts and older students’ parking passes in an attempt to recoup the debt.