An Act Forbidding Food Shaming, Food Denial and the Use of Food as Discipline Involving Any Child in Maine's Public Schools
Sec. 1. 20-A MRSA c. 223, sub-c. 11 is enacted to read:
§ 6681. Access to food and use of food discipline
This section governs student access to and school use of food, including as a disciplinary tool, in public schools.
(1) To throw away a meal after it has been served to the student; or
(2) To undertake chores or work as a means of paying for one or more meals or as punishment for not paying for one or more meals; or
This bill does the following.
1. It requires a public school that provides free and reduced-price meals or other meals to students pursuant to the Maine Revised Statutes, Title 20-A, chapter 223, subchapter 7 or otherwise provides to students meals eligible for reimbursement under a program administered by the United States Department of Agriculture to provide such a meal to a student who requests the meal and is otherwise eligible for the meal regardless of the student's inability to pay for the school meal or failure in the past to pay for school meals. It also requires the school to take certain actions to assist the parent or guardian of a student who requests such a meal.
2. It prohibits a public school from punishing a student in certain ways solely because of the student's inability to pay for a meal or because of any payments due for previous meals. It also prohibits a public school from refusing a meal to a student as a form of or as part of a disciplinary action.
3. It prohibits a public school from openly identifying or stigmatizing a student who cannot pay for a meal or who has payments due for previous meals by requiring the student to wear a wristband, hand stamp or other identifying mark or sign noticeable by others.
4. It requires a public school to communicate about a student's meal debts directly to the parent or guardian of the student rather than to the student. A public school may ask a student to carry to the student's parent or guardian a letter regarding a student's meal debt.