Bill would end "lunch shaming"

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LANSING, MI. (WILX) -- Is it fair to publicly shame a child because their parents didn't put enough money in their school lunch account? Now one State Senator says it's time to end lunch shaming.

Bay District Schools will provide free breakfast and lunch for the 2019-2020 school year. (USDA)

The Senate Minority Leader has a new bill called "Hunger-Free Student Bill of Rights."

He says it will let students eat first and work out the details with the school and parents later.

"Taking food from a hungry kid at school goes against everything. Common sense and really dignity. I think there (is) a much better way to do it and I think my bill will help find that path," says Senator Minority Leader, Jim Ananich (D).

The Hunger-Free Student bill was inspired after Ananich spoke with a mom about a child whose lunch was thrown away in front of other students for not having enough money to pay for their meal.

His bill would ban schools from publicly identifying students who can't pay for lunch and from throwing away lunches that have already been given to the students.

"Schools will come up with more humane ways to deal with this. You know, they can give a USDA reimbursable lunch if that happens," added Ananich.

People in the community have found other ways to help end this lunch shaming issue.

"There (is) a lot of folks in the community would say hey - these four, five kids are having problems, maybe their family is struggling. I'd have no problem chipping in to make sure that those kids continue to eat," said Ananich.

The bill would require schools to contact parents within seven days of the lunch account being overdrawn.

They would also have to give parents information to see if they qualify for free or reduced-price lunches.

The Hunger Free Student Bill is now with the Senate Committee on Education.

To find more information on the Hunger Free Student Bill click on the link, HERE.

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