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CommunityIdeaStations: Bill Banning Stigmatizing School Meal Practices Advances Print



A bill removing stigmatizing punishments for kids who haven’t paid for school lunches advanced out of a House Education committee today (2/7).

Democratic Delegate Patrick Hope’s bill instructs schools to communicate directly with parents about any school lunch debt – instead of punishing students for failing to pay.

Another bill requiring schools to provide healthy meals to every student regardless of their ability to pay failed to report out of subcommittee.

“I think every student should have access to breakfast and lunch and have the nutrition they need to succeed in the classroom,” said Chris Duncombe with the Commonwealth Institute.

He says that bill – sponsored by Democratic Delegate Danica Roem – would incentivize enrollment in a relatively new federal program called the Community Eligibility Provision that subsidizes the entire cost of school meals for high-poverty schools.

Duncombe says there are still about 200 schools in the Commonwealth that are eligible for the program that aren’t yet participating.

However, Virginia’s school board and superintendents associations oppose the bill – citing cost concerns for those schools not eligible to have their meals paid for.