After a student was visibly marked with a "lunch money" stamp in Arizona, New Mexico announced the Hunger-Free Students' Bill of Rights, which will officially make "lunch shaming" against the law. Soon, the USDA will require all schools to put lunch policies in writing to avoid any more of these incidents.
Because what happens when a child doesn't have money for lunch is up to individual schools, right now, some of those policies include stamping their wrists, serving them cheese sandwiches, making students work for their food, and even denying them of a meal completely. By July 1, all public schools in the country will have to share with staff, parents, and the community their policies on what to do when a child can't pay for their lunch, and the transparency will hopefully inspire schools to reevaluate their potentially negative plans of action.
"We're saying feed these children first, and let the grown-ups sort out the finances," Jennifer Ramo, executive director of the anti-hunger group, New Mexico Appleseed, told NPR. "I'm hoping communities really put pressure on their own districts to say, 'We want our children fed.'"