House Votes to End “Lunch-Shaming” at School

If you’re not familiar with the term “lunch-shaming,” don’t worry.  There’s a good chance it will soon be illegal in Washington anyway.  Dan Frizzell from the Washington State House Democratic Caucus has more.

PETERSON: “We have an opportunity to make sure that our school districts are not stigmatizing kids just because they might not be able to afford lunch that day.” 

That’s state Representative Strom Peterson speaking in Olympia, talking about a bill he introduced that would ban the disturbing practice of lunch-shaming and make sure every Washington K-12 student could eat a decent meal, regardless of inability to pay. Lunch-shaming happens when kids are singled out in the school cafeteria and given a bare-bones lunch, sometimes in a paper bag that distinguishes it from the typical lunch served to other students. There are even reports of cafeteria workers taking a meal away from students and throwing it away when it’s discovered the youngster hasn’t got lunch money that day.  Peterson, an Edmonds Democrat, said enough was enough.

PETERSON: “This bill came to me when I was visiting my mom back in New Mexico where I grew up and I saw that the New Mexico state Legislature had passed one of the most progressive lunch-shaming bills in the country.  And I said, well, I think the great state of Washington can certainly follow suit.”

Most Republicans voted to retain the practice, but Peterson’s legislation was OK’d by the House and now moves to the Senate for consideration.  In Olympia, I’m Dan Frizzell.