Participation in the free and reduced price school breakfast and lunch programs decreases if children feel embarrassed or stigmatized. Although school policies may be well-intentioned and seek not to overtly identify students receiving a free or reduced price meal, current practices may not go far enough to avoid singling out such students. Identifying best practices will encourage schools and school districts to follow positive examples that will help to more effectively operate the program.
“Children may often feel self conscious about receiving free or low costs meals at school,” said Senator Saland. “They may go without a meal to avoid being seen receiving a subsidized meal. Children who go without a nutritious meal may do poorly in school and their health may suffer. This new law will help us identify best practices to better ensure that children receive a nutritious meal while in school and eliminate practices that can result in stigmatization.”
The new law takes effect immediately.