Tenn. makes amendment to anti-lunch shaming bill

Changes include allowing schools to prevent students with meal debt from attending school activities.
Photograph: Shutterstock

An amendment to Tennessee’s proposed Anti-Lunch Shaming Act  has passed in the House’s K-12 subcommittee, News Channel 5 Nashville reports. The change would allow schools to prevent students with lunch debt from participating in school activities as well as refer parents of such students to the Department of Children's Services.

Originally introduced in the House last month, HB 1589 would prevent schools from offering an alternative meal or throwing away a student’s meal if they can’t pay. Under the original bill, schools would also not be allowed to bar students from participating in school activities if they have debt. 

The amendment passed this week, however, says that students who do not qualify for free- or reduced-priced meals can be prevented from attending school activities and graduation if they have accumulated debt. Those who are 18 or older and have a job would also be responsible for paying off their own debt. 

Schools would also be able to refer a student’s parent or guardian to the Department of Children’s Services to investigate for neglect and child abuse if the student is not paying for meals. 

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