Ban on 'school lunch shaming' wins Louisiana House support
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - House lawmakers have overwhelmingly voted to bar Louisiana's public schools from embarrassing or penalizing students because they have unpaid lunch debts.
Rep. Patricia Smith says schools have kept students from attending pizza parties and kicked students out of lunch lines because parents owed money. The Baton Rouge Democrat says children shouldn't be held responsible or humiliated for the debts of parents.
Her proposal would prohibit schools from publicly identifying students with back-owed lunch bills, requiring them to do chores to pay for meals, withholding school privileges from them or scolding them. Organizations representing school boards, principals and superintendents oppose the measure, concerned that fewer parents will pay lunch bills if it passes.
The House voted 71-28 Wednesday for the proposal, sending it to the Senate.