California governor Gavin Newsom has signed legislation that bans schools from “lunch shaming” students who can’t afford to pay for meals in the cafeteria.
- The new legislation affects all schools in the state that participate in the National School Lunch Program or National School Breakfast Program.
- It bans these schools from serving an “alternate” meal to students with unpaid lunch fees as well as “treating them differently.”
- The passing of the legislation, which traces its roots back to 2017, is largely credited to Ryan Kyote.
- Kyote, a third grader, made national headlines when he donated $74.50 of his allowance money in 2019 to pay off school lunch debt for classmates.
- The new law means students with unpaid lunch fees will be served a meal of their choice.
- The law dictates that the state will reimburse the district for the cost of any meals served to students who are unable to pay.
- Nationally, an estimated 75% of the 5 billion school lunches served every year are offered at free or reduced price.