Roommates, we are unfortunately living in a time where students are not able to eat school lunch on a daily basis due to the pricing. Now, a New Jersey school district is cracking down on student lunch debt, further discouraging student’s participation in school activities.
Previously, this same district was criticized for proposing a plan to serve tuna sandwiches to students who owed more than $10 in lunch debt, and serving no food to those who had a balance of more than $20.
According to the new policy, high-school students in the Cherry Hill school district could be banned from participating in school dances, prom, and other activities if their debt exceeds $75, NBC news reports. At middle schools, students may not be allowed to participate in after-school events.
The new plan quickly drew some criticism from parents in the district.
“It is an elitist assumption on the part of this school board that parents are not paying this bill because they don’t want to,” said Vibiana Cvetkovic.
The policy further states that school officials will make several attempts to contact the student’s parents regarding any unpaid bill. Parents will be encouraged to apply for free or reduced lunch if they have not already done so.
In a statement, Superintendent Joseph Meloche says despite their previous policies, the school district has never denied a student lunch because of an outstanding bill. He also added that in 2017 the district’s $25,000 lunch debt was erased, but has since gone back up to $18,000.
“Simple erasing the debt does not help those who need support and compassion and meals through the Free & Reduced Meal Programs,” he wrote. “Simple erasing the debt does not address the many families with financial means who have just chosen not to pay what is owed.”
This is not an isolated incident, however. We previously reported about a high school student who was denied lunch because she was 15 cents short of payment.
Do y’all think parents are choosing not to pay their children’s lunch bills, or is this is matter not being able to afford daily lunch? Let us know in the comments, Roomies!