Sign the petition: No more school lunch debt. Support the No Shame at School Act.

U.S. Congress

School_lunch_(jason_hoekema_the_brownsville_herald_via_ap)
As students and teachers head back to school, many children across the country still cannot afford school lunch. These children are forced to choose between going hungry or going into debt just to be able to eat a nutritious meal. The issue is widespread -- more than 75% of school districts across the country reported children with lunch debt in the previous school year.

Student lunch debt may seem like a minor issue, but can drastically burden working class families. For example, in a Pennsylvania school district, a school administrator sent several parents letters threatening to take away their children if the parents were not able to pay off their kids’ lunch debts.

In another case, a New Hampshire school cafeteria worker was fired for providing food to a student with $8 in lunch debt. And in several troubling cases across the country, lunch debt prevented high school seniors from graduating. This is unacceptable. The question of whether a child has access to healthy food at school should never be dependent on a family’s income.

Fortunately, Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN-5) and Sen. Tina Smith (D-MN) have a plan to eliminate school lunch debt once and for all! In June 2019, both members of Congress introduced the No Shame at School Act, which allows school districts to be retroactively reimbursed for unpaid lunch fees and bars collection agencies from seeking unpaid lunch fees. If passed, the legislation would also bar schools from using wristbands, hand stamps, and other tactics of shaming students who have school lunch debt.

The No Shame at School Act takes important steps to protect primarily low-income families and families of color from school lunch debt shaming and eases the financial burden of unpaid lunch fees on our school districts. Now is the time for our lawmakers to support their constituents and get this important legislation passed.

Sign the petition today. Tell Congress to support the No Shame at School Act and protect children and their families.

Participating Organizations:
Black Alliance for Just Immigration
Center for Food Safety
Color of Change
Corporate Accountability
CREDO Action
Daily Kos
Friends of the Earth Action
HEAL Food Alliance
Progress America

To: U.S. Congress
From: [Your Name]

As students and teachers head back to school across the country, many children across the country still cannot afford school lunch and as a result, carry lunch debt. More than 75% of school districts across the country reported student lunch debt in the previous school year. Children and their families are constantly shamed for not having lunch money, to the point where parents are threatened with neglect charges. This is unacceptable. I am calling on you to support working families and children in your constituency by passing the No Shame at School Act, which takes important steps to protect low-income families from school lunch debt shaming and eases financial burden of unpaid lunch fees off of school districts.