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Missouri lawmaker files bill to outlaw school lunch ‘shaming’

Missouri democratic lawmakers announced a litany of bills focusing on K-12 policy Tuesday, one of which centers around a practice sponsors called, “food shaming.”

Two bills were filed in the Missouri House that, if passed, would prohibit schools from publicly identifying any students who owe a debt on meals, or force a student to throw away food if the student isn’t able to pay.

The bills would also require that school district provide lunches to any students who ask for one, reardless of the student’s ability to pay, or debt owed on past lunches.

House Bill 618 was filed by Ferguson Rep. Raychel Proudie and House Bill 627 was filed by St. Louis County Rep. Ian Mackey.

“This bill is a step towards ensuring our children are prepared to do their very best, reach their potential, and exceed expectations,” Proudie said. “They cannot do this when they are hungry. Unfortunately, there are instances where our scholars are unable to get a meal, or are shamed with meals not fit for the condemned due to an inability to pay. No child deserves such treatment.”

ABC 17 News reported in December when Columbia Public Schools implimented a new policy in which a child’s lunch account that has more than $50 of delinquent payments, will be sent to a third-party collections agency.

More than $101,000 of past due lunches is in the hands of the collection agency, according to CPS.

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