"Lunch Shaming" Children with Unpaid School Lunch Debts

Aug 29, 2017

School districts across the country are struggling to adapt to growing school lunch debt. Many children who cannot afford their school lunches have been subjected to what is commonly referred to as "lunch shaming," which involves practices that can humiliate children in public schools who have unpaid lunch debts. One such method involves dumping a student’s lunch in the trash once they get to the cash register.

Ann Feilmann of Iowa's Department of Education says that schools participating in the National School Lunch Program are working to curb this issue.

"They are required to have a written policy of how they will handle the situation where a child doesn't have money in their account, cash in hand, or they're not eligible for free meals," she says. "They also need to have a plan that they will provide to the households in their district."

On this edition of River to River, host Ben Kieffer speaks with Ann Feilmann of Iowa’s Department of Education, as well as New Mexico State Senator Michael Pedilla, whose Hunger-Free Students' Bill of Rights Act passed earlier this year.

Also on the show, Kieffer talks with Raynard Kington, president of Grinnell College. Kington is beginning his eighth year as head of the prestigious school, which is consistently ranked among the top liberal arts colleges in the country.