New bill seeks to ban lunch shaming in Missouri

Schools would no longer be allowed to "publicly identify or stigmatize" students if they are unable to pay for meals.
Stacks of lunch trays in the cafeteria.
Photo: Shutterstock

A new bill introduced in Missouri would ban lunch shaming in the state.

Under House Bill No. 2433, schools would have to provide students with a meal even if they are unable pay.

If a student owes money for five or more meals, schools must first determine if that student is eligible for free or reduced-price meals and then must contact the student’s parent or guardian at least twice to offer assistance with filling out a meal application and other help as needed.

Schools would be allowed to send a note home with students addressed to parents or guardians, but not to "publicly identify or stigmatize" those students.

The bill would also prohibit schools from using a debt collector to retrieve money from families that are behind on school meal payments.


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