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How Lunch Shaming Is Becoming A Major Issue In US Schools

Food is the basic necessity and in the time of social media presence, it has become a social statement.
Imagine a kid being denied a meal because he cannot pay for it. This is surely not going to sit well with any parent but still many kids are being publicly shamed and stamped for 'lunch debt not paid' or are being served cold food. This is considered as a humiliation that traumatizes Not only the child but also the parents.

Lunch shaming has been a common practice for ages but it only got mass public attention recently when food was removed from an Ohio student’s tray on his birthday over $9 lunch debt.
Since this unfortunate and heinous incident, many people have used social media to share their #lunchshaming stories.
Marisa Sambista Serrano, former investigation discovery makeup artist, shared her middle school lunch shaming experience, when she accidentally lost her lunch money.
She states that she accidentally lost her lunch money and didn't realize until she was about to pay. The lunch lady got extremely angry with her for holding up the line. Marisa told the lunch lady about losing her lunch money and was immediately told that she cannot get any lunch. She kept standing near the cafeteria with an empty tray but was not allowed to eat that day. 
On one day a Utah elementary school denied lunch to 40 students who had lunch fee debt. In 2014, it was reported that almost half of all districts use some form of shaming to pressurize parents to pay bills. In response to these crises, humanitarian and different organizations have stepped up to help students.
In response to the public outrage, some voices have come in defence of the school's administration.
According to an employee of the cafeteria of the school who shares some insight on the matter, this is all because of an impending pressure on the school to pay back the lunch debt to the government. However, they cannot use the federal school nutrition funds to pay down students’ lunch debt."
According to USDA guidelines, more than half of the schools in a district have some level of student meal debt.
The US government considers child nutrition as a serious matter and spends over  $22 billion annually on its childhood nutrition program but the new government administration has proposed cuts to the program that would equal $1.7 billion over 10 years and is only going to make matters worse. Community Eligibility Provision is already implemented that was developed in 2010 but due to the strict and complicated condition not many schools felt comfortable taking part in it and feared that it may affect other federal funding.

The government needs to work on more policies and campaigns in order to ease the family struggle in dealing with poverty. In light of all these facts, one thing remains common, no child should be deprived of a hot meal. Schools surely have room to further improve school food programs. They should focus on the well-being of students and try to get funds for easing the burden on parents.

1 comment

  1. I have been hearing a lot about this lately.They really need to work on this.


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