California Bans Lunch Shaming, Guarantees State-Funded Meals For Students

California’s governor has signed to bring a bill into law that guarantees all students a state-funded meal of their choice, even if their parents or guardians have remaining meal fees.

The new law bans lunch shaming.

Lunch Shaming is when students get denied from getting meals or even a cheaper meal at schools because they still owe the school money for meals.

Thanks to the new law, schools in California will no longer give a student a cheaper alternative meal.

In a statement that was released by Governor Gavin Newsom, he thanked Ryan Kyote, a third-grade student at an elementary school in Napa County.

The third-grader paid for all the food service bills of his fellow students at the school and brought national awareness of the issue.

In the statement that Gov. Newsom released, he said, “I want to thank Ryan for his empathy and his courage in bringing awareness to this important issue.”

Earlier this year, Governor Newsom and Ryan Kyote met to discuss ways to tackle the huge problem.

The SB 265 law was created by Senator Robert Hertzberg.

The SB 265 Law ensures that all students will “receive a state reimbursable meal of their choice, even if their parent or guardian has unpaid meal fees.”

According to a statement that was released by the Governors office, “Specifically, SB 265 amends the Child Hunger Prevention and Fair Treatment Act of 2017 to require all local educational agencies, including school districts, county offices of education, and charter schools that provide free and reduced meals, to invalidate policies that call for a student whose parent or guardian has unpaid meal fees be given an alternative meal.”

Earlier this year, U.S. Representative Ilhan Omar introduced the No Shame at School Act, where students who can’t pay for their school lunch will not be identified.

Omar said, “Across this country, students whose families are struggling to afford school meals are being singled out and humiliated at lunchtime.”

She added, “These students are subjected to various shaming practices at schools. Some students have been literally branded with stamps.”

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