A California lawmaker wants to end “lunch shaming” at campuses across the state.
Sen. Bob Hertzberg, a Democrat from Los Angeles, is carrying a bill he says will put a stop to schools embarrassing children whose parents fall behind on their lunch payments. Hertzberg says the shaming takes multiple forms: Some students are altogether denied food while others are given paltry snacks.
Such treatment, he says, “undercuts a child’s ability to learn and succeed in school.
“We also know that embarrassing children in front of peers can destroy their self-confidence.”
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Senate Bill 250 would prevent schools from withholding the meals and require school officials to tell guardians when unpaid lunch fees exceed five full-priced lunches. It’s part of a series of measures brought forward in recent years by Hertzberg focused broadly on lifting some of the burdens of poverty.
He also has bills this year to overhaul the bail system (SB10) and stop the automatic suspensions of licenses for drivers who can’t afford to pay fines or fees for minor traffic citations (SB 185).
A hearing on the lunch-shaming bill is scheduled to take place on March 15 at the Senate Education Committee.
Hertzberg in 2015 successfully pushed via SB 405 to eliminate up-front penalties for motorists who want to appeal to the courts to challenge their tickets. Gov. Jerry Brown signed the law that September.