• An Nguyen

School lunch shaming

An alarming number of American students still cannot afford a $2.35 lunch, despite free and reduced lunch programs.

When a student doesn’t have money for lunch, cafeteria staffs in many districts take away the child’s tray of hot food and hand them a brown paper bag containing a cold cheese sandwich and a small milk. Some schools take away the child’s lunch completely.

About seventy-six percent of America’s school districts have students with lunch debt, according to the School Nutrition Association. In 2015, a cafeteria worker in Colorado was fired because she paid for a student’s meal.

The USDA is urging districts to stop "embarrassing" and "singling out" students who don't have enough money for lunch.

The Community Eligibility Program has become a lifesaver. CEP gives free lunches to every student in a school where at least forty percent of the families are extremely poor and automatically qualify for government aid.

According to CNN.com, “The Trump administration has proposed a massive cut of 21% to the USDA's budget, but it’s unlikely school lunch funding will be impacted since it's considered an entitlement program. Still, it's a sign there likely won't be more money for these programs.”