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house Bill H.R. 2401

Should Schools be Prohibited From “Lunch Shaming” Children Unable to Pay for a Meal?

Argument in favor

It’s wrong for schools to discriminate against or stigmatize children because their parents haven’t paid their school meal bills. Lunch shaming should be prohibited.

TMoorePA610's Opinion
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08/06/2017
Shaming and stigmatizing children at any time, for any reason...especially when they have no control over their circumstance...is unconscionable. I can't believe this is even being debated. Whatever it takes, do not allow ignorant and insensitive adults to shame and stigmatize innocents-children-who can't pay for school lunches.
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Cheryl's Opinion
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08/06/2017
A child needs love and nourishment. They should never feel less than b/c a parent has finance issues.
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Lindsay's Opinion
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08/06/2017
Make it hard for women to choose when she wants to have a family, to work, to be healthy, to afford groceries, then make her and her children feel shame - the most harmful of emotions. Cruel and regressive.
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Argument opposed

There’s nothing wrong with having children whose parents can’t pay for their meals at school do extra chores, this bill is a solution in search of a problem.

Jesse's Opinion
···
08/06/2017
You can't legislate people into being nice to each other. I think rather than slapping a politically correct Band-Aid onto a broken system we should just fix the system. How about re-prioritizing our budgets to pay teachers more, shrink classroom sizes, and, while we're at it, provide healthy lunches for all students? Legalize marijuana and some other drugs, take the tax revenues from that (added to what we're saving by not investigating, prosecuting, and incarcerating drug users), and pay for better schools. Or how about a few less multi-billion-dollar smart bombers and other toys of mass destruction? It's not that we don't have the money, it's priorities. Despite our cultural maniacal fixation on children we'd rather blow stuff up than actually care for our children. This bill is hollow bullshit.
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Carolyn's Opinion
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08/06/2017
I'm not a fan of shaming kids. On the other hand, what the heck do you expect schools to do? Many school lunch programs run in the red. Either the schools continue to do these things that force parents to pay or the government steps up with more money to fund the meal programs so they cover EVERY child. If you tie the schools' hands so they can't do anything to collect the money then they'll go even more into debt, cutting programs that affect ALL kids. If you want the schools to stop trying to collect the money they're owed then make it a non-issue. Fund the schools appropriately.
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TuckerWantsLiberty's Opinion
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08/06/2017
There are right ways and wrong ways to address this problem. Legislation is a wrong way. How are you going to make it illegal for me to "cause" you to subjectively feel a certain way? How are you going to prevent Person A from experiencing emotional discomfort by placing restrictions on the behavior of Person B? Why would you place the responsibility for one person's emotions on someone else? That makes ZERO sense. Second, it is no injustice to expect people to provide something of value in exchange for receiving something of value! You receive food from me? I am completely justified in expecting something from you. I'd prefer money. Don't have money? Well then you can provide value by helping to clean up. That's not unjust! That's completely fair! If you feel shame from that, that's not my fault! I mean let's talk together about it and figure something out, because I don't want you to be ashamed, but nothing about that is unfair or unjust or - for goodness's sake - ILLEGAL! Providing something in return for receiving something is justice. Justice is right and can be legislated. Giving something at one's own personal expense is mercy. Mercy is beautiful but cannot be legislated. Giving something at the expense of other taxpayers is a crime disguised as compassion. Crimes are disgusting and their promoters should be voted out of Congress at the earliest possible opportunity.
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bill Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The senate has not voted
  • The house has not voted
      house Committees
      Committee on Education and Labor
    IntroducedMay 8th, 2017

What is House Bill H.R. 2401?

This bill would prohibit schools from publicly identifying or otherwise stigmatizing children participating in the National School Lunch Program or the School Breakfast Program who either don’t have funds to pay for a meal or have an outstanding credit from a school food authority. Such children couldn’t be forced to wear a wristband or hand stamp, perform chores that other students aren’t generally assigned to, or dispose of food after it has been served to them.

Any communications related to outstanding credit would have to be directed to the child’s parent or guardian. A child may be required to deliver a letter regarding outstanding credit that’s addressed to the parent or guardian if the letter isn’t distributed in a way that stigmatizes the child.

This bill would also express the sense of Congress that schools should be provided with lunch or breakfast at school regardless of their ability to pay, those who can’t pay shouldn’t be provided an alternate meal, and schools should explore innovative ways to improve communications and payments with parents.

Impact

Children who would otherwise be lunch shamed; parents; school administrators and teachers.

Cost of House Bill H.R. 2401

A CBO cost estimate is unavailable.

More Information

In-DepthSponsoring Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D-NM) introduced this bill to ban schools from “lunch shaming” — publicly singling out children through wristbands or chores if they can’t pay for school meals:

“No student should be humiliated in front of their peers because their parents can’t afford to pay for a meal. It is shocking and shameful that this happens to hungry children, but nearly half of all school districts use some form of lunch shaming. This bipartisan bill will put an end to these draconian practices and help ensure that students can focus on their studies without looking over their shoulder to see their friends pointing fingers.”

This legislation has the support of 90 bipartisan cosponsors in the House, including 86 Democrats and four Republicans.


Media:

Summary by Eric Revell

(Photo Credit: woodleywonderworks via Flickr / Creative Commons)

AKA

Anti-Lunch Shaming Act of 2017

Official Title

To amend the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act to prohibit the stigmatization of children who are unable to pay for meals.

    Shaming and stigmatizing children at any time, for any reason...especially when they have no control over their circumstance...is unconscionable. I can't believe this is even being debated. Whatever it takes, do not allow ignorant and insensitive adults to shame and stigmatize innocents-children-who can't pay for school lunches.
    Like (188)
    Follow
    Share
    You can't legislate people into being nice to each other. I think rather than slapping a politically correct Band-Aid onto a broken system we should just fix the system. How about re-prioritizing our budgets to pay teachers more, shrink classroom sizes, and, while we're at it, provide healthy lunches for all students? Legalize marijuana and some other drugs, take the tax revenues from that (added to what we're saving by not investigating, prosecuting, and incarcerating drug users), and pay for better schools. Or how about a few less multi-billion-dollar smart bombers and other toys of mass destruction? It's not that we don't have the money, it's priorities. Despite our cultural maniacal fixation on children we'd rather blow stuff up than actually care for our children. This bill is hollow bullshit.
    Like (270)
    Follow
    Share
    A child needs love and nourishment. They should never feel less than b/c a parent has finance issues.
    Like (137)
    Follow
    Share
    Make it hard for women to choose when she wants to have a family, to work, to be healthy, to afford groceries, then make her and her children feel shame - the most harmful of emotions. Cruel and regressive.
    Like (106)
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    Besides being a teacher for 30 years and knowing first hand how hard it is to teach a hungry child, I've actually been on the other end, one of the kids who had to stay and clean off the mess on the tables in the school cafeteria while other kids went to recess, because I couldn't pay for my lunch. Don't allow schools to shame kids. They may save some money, but the cost to the child is beyond calculation.
    Like (99)
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    Feed our hungry children instead of our fat, overstuffed defense contractors. Stand up, get involved and shout out!
    Like (72)
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    We have come to the point where some teachers feel it appropriate to shame children for being brown, for being poor-- all accidents of birth, like being transgender. The in/equality of public discourse has deteriorated under #45 and all the -isms have been elevated to being considered appropriate by many. We are behaving like the 1700s when being poor was considered the same as being immoral. Many of those born with white privilege and/or who inherited wealth imagine themselves to be morally superior to allow scapegoating those whose accident of birth did not confer special privilege. No, children should never ever be shamed period. For schools to bully children is especially reprehensible. I know of a bright exuberant boy in love with learning targeted by his Principal for his mother's poverty who became sullen and shut down to school in Kindergarten. One school official adult bully destroyed a promising student's school career. Adults must protect children. We are the only industrialized nation willing to humiliate, to starve, and to deny health care to our people.
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    This is in response to the question "... what the heck do you expect schools to do?" posed by one Countable member. I expect schools/school personnel to treat every child with equal respect and dignity regardless of their family's financial situation. I expect them to protect children from humiliation and emotional abuse, not dish it out. I expect them to not blame or punish children for situations clearly outside of their ability to control. And in many cases I expect them to recognize the parents often haven't much control over the situation either. I expect, if a school program is running in the red and can't afford to feed students they take a close look at their budget and maybe forego those new football jerseys this year. I expect kindness and decency and compassion to be the top priority when dealing with anyone, but most especially when dealing with a vulnerable child. This is what the heck I expect! I honestly did not realize something as awful as this was occurring in our schools. How inconceivable cruel. There is no justification. None. So if a law is required to make such behavior illegal then by all means we should pass it posthaste so that offenders face legal consequences for such viciousness.
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    I'm not a fan of shaming kids. On the other hand, what the heck do you expect schools to do? Many school lunch programs run in the red. Either the schools continue to do these things that force parents to pay or the government steps up with more money to fund the meal programs so they cover EVERY child. If you tie the schools' hands so they can't do anything to collect the money then they'll go even more into debt, cutting programs that affect ALL kids. If you want the schools to stop trying to collect the money they're owed then make it a non-issue. Fund the schools appropriately.
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    Children have no choice in being able to fund their lunches, it is the responsibility of the parents and our community to make sure all children are raised to be health and happy people who believe that they have a chance to succeed in life, making them feel bad about the financial circumstances that they are born into will only raise another generation of people that have very little self worth and will not fix the problem. Another person who voted "nay" suggested that we have universal school lunch funding, I agree with universal funding for all students, this would remove the reason for this bill and remove the stigma that has been created by funding for low income students all together. The cost would be trivial.
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    There are right ways and wrong ways to address this problem. Legislation is a wrong way. How are you going to make it illegal for me to "cause" you to subjectively feel a certain way? How are you going to prevent Person A from experiencing emotional discomfort by placing restrictions on the behavior of Person B? Why would you place the responsibility for one person's emotions on someone else? That makes ZERO sense. Second, it is no injustice to expect people to provide something of value in exchange for receiving something of value! You receive food from me? I am completely justified in expecting something from you. I'd prefer money. Don't have money? Well then you can provide value by helping to clean up. That's not unjust! That's completely fair! If you feel shame from that, that's not my fault! I mean let's talk together about it and figure something out, because I don't want you to be ashamed, but nothing about that is unfair or unjust or - for goodness's sake - ILLEGAL! Providing something in return for receiving something is justice. Justice is right and can be legislated. Giving something at one's own personal expense is mercy. Mercy is beautiful but cannot be legislated. Giving something at the expense of other taxpayers is a crime disguised as compassion. Crimes are disgusting and their promoters should be voted out of Congress at the earliest possible opportunity.
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    Any state or school system that has this in place should be punished. NO child should be humiliated because they don't have lunch money!!!
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    Schools should not shame kids. Family economics is totally out of their control. Shaming can traumatized a child for life or plunge them into depression or even suicide. This is no different than bullying. Schools should work with parents or have a program to help parents who cannot pay. Many people have minimum wage jobs and struggle with feeding and clothing their children. Single parents are often struggling to make ends meet. Be grateful they have their kids in school to get education that may help them break the cycle of poverty. The government needs to reinstate programs that feed children breakfast and lunch. Then schools would not have to shame them and there would be no need for this bill. How are you going to enforce this law? What are the penalties if found guilty? Seems too difficult to enforce. Feed the kids is the answer to this problem. Undo the harm the GOP inflicted with their heartless and shameful elimination of feeding children and meals on wheels. There is an abundance of scientific literature that shows good nutrition aids brain development. The GOP eliminating school food promotes malnutrition, obesity due to only eating foods high in carbohydrates because it is all their parents can afford . Congress reaps what it sows. You created this problem. What would Jesus do? He would feed the hungry. All the self proclaimed Christians need to follow the teachings of Jesus, or else you are all hypocrites loudly sounding your cymbals and walking all over the neediest in our society. Give up your lifetime insurance and pensions, quit giving yourselves raises when we don't get raises from our jobs, cut your salary. Try living on what we make every 2 weeks!!!!! I am sure you will discover how hard it is. Immerse yourself at the poverty level for one month. It will be an eye opening experience. The American Indians say you must walk a mile in someone's moccasins to understand another person. This should be a mandatory exercise for all members of Congress and the president before being sworn into office to reduce the number of ignorant, heartless bills that waste time and taxpayer money. Maybe then they would use the few days they work each year to be more productive and understand their constituents better. Perhaps they should live in a homeless shelter for a month. Many students are homeless and hungry yet go to school everyday. I bet Congress gets free lunch on the hill, as well as free gym, travel expenses, lifetime health insurance and pension and big salary increases on a regular basis, not to mention their 6 figure salaries. Most Americans cannot imagine or even dream of such fabulous benefits Congress has. You should be ashamed of yourselves. Pretty sure your mother raised you better than this. Mine is crying in her grave because of all the appalling things Congress is doing or proposing
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    It is like putting a s sign on a child's back that says I'm poor take vantage of me. Shameful to shame A youngster who has no control over the income of his family
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    I am a teacher and I would never say anything to them about getting free lunches. I have given granola bars to children who haven't eaten breakfast. What kind of country are we if any child goes hungry. How do you expect them to learn if they are hungry? I am ashamed that this is even a problem.
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    Lunch shaming has only occurred in the past two decades. Sure, kids would steal others lunch, trade food items, complain about the food. Some kids had enough food, others didn't. Moms made lunches, brought lunches or paid for lunches. Lunch shaming began with government intervened with food aid programs. Then it was fried foods, then meat, then wholesome organic foods and finally with government picked foods. No more hotdogs, no more toco Fridays. Out with soda, up with water. Down with spaghetti Wednesday and in with green salad and kale. Fat kids brought more, skinny kids brought the same. It was the government who started the shaming. Shame the kid who wanted two pieces of chicken or extra mashed potatoes. Shame the kid who drank soda. Shame the kid really became a fad when Michelle started her organic farm. Yea, I bet she worked that garden every day. Weeds, watering and insect infestation became her motto. She only "worked" her garden during a photo opt. She was shaming the citizens to grow a garden. One would think that a community organizer would know about gardening, but alas, the Obama's only spread divisiveness, hate, and the glory of community gardens providing fresh vegetables to the elites dinner table.
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    Lunch shaming? Is this really going through congress?
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    Children who can't afford basic needs, such as lunches, are already aware that their situations aren't ideal. Schools should be doing everything they can to support and help these students in need rather than "shaming" them for things they can't control. The fact that this is even a debatable issue is unthinkable. Children can't learn while hungry.
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    What a STUPID QUESTION. Why in the name of GOD, which ALL YOU POLITICIANS SWEAR YOU BELIEVE IN would ALLOW ANYONE TO SHAME OR HURT A CHILD, PLEASE GO SHOOT YOURSELF IN THE FOOT. Remember to ALWAYS WALK A MILE IN THE OTHERS SHOES & GOD ONLY KNOWS PEOPLE WHO LIVE IN GLASS HOUSES SHOULD NOT BE THROWING STONES. SHAME ON ALL OF YOU ENTITLED ASSES
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    All children have a right to a healthy lunch at school-there is no compromise on this. Children can only learn when they have the nutrients they need every day.
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