PA House is looking to address lunch shaming

July 2 – If you haven’t really heard of lunch shaming before, you’re not alone. 

Apparently in schools when children can’t afford to buy lunch or have a lot of student lunch debt, other students will shame them. 

It’s kind of a new thing, but it’s probably gone on longer than we realize. 

Well, lawmakers in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives are looking to help stop the shaming. 

Attorney Clint Barkdoll explained, “Yesterday, they passed a bill that addresses this idea of student lunch debt and lunch shaming. So this bill would allocate an $80 million state fund that would wipe out student lunch debt, and it would also ban what’s called lunch shaming, meaning that if there’s a kid that can’t afford to buy his or her lunch, they still must be given the regular lunch. This old idea of giving them a PB&J sandwich or some alternative, that would be banned. This law would also prevent school districts from banning lunch debtors from participating in extracurricular activities or sports. I think most people listening to this would agree, if there’s kids that can’t afford lunch, we want them to be taken care of, whether that’s through a state fund or what, but there are a lot of critics of this bill, and it’s like so many things, the law of unintended consequences. Will there be people that game this system? I mean, if there’s families and kids that know you can now just go through the line, if you never pay, don’t worry about it, there’s no ramifications, the state is there as a backstop. You can see where this could quickly get out of hand and why a lot of people are quite concerned and skeptical about it. It did pass on a largely bipartisan vote, 16 Republicans joined all of the Democrats in approving this yesterday.”