MAZON is working to ensure that low-income children have access to school lunch without shame or stigma.
MAZON’s Leadership on Lunch Shaming
Nearly half of all school districts nationwide either refuse to serve lunches to children who can’t pay for them, substitute less nutritious meals, or even brand children with overdue lunch bills with markers, often stigmatizing those children in the process – a practice known as “lunch shaming.”
Through the MAZON Advocacy Project (MAP), MAZON, along with its partner Mid-Minnesota Legal Aid, launched the first successful effort to address this issue legislatively in 2014. The MAZON-sponsored bills SF 146 and HF 336 removed the mandatory school lunch co-payment for low-income Minnesota families, ensuring no child would ever be turned away from a school meal again and expanding the Minnesota State budget to support an additional 62,500 children in receiving free lunch. New Mexico has also recently passed an anti-shaming law, and California and Texas both have pending legislation to end public shaming of children. The practice, however, is vastly more widespread. Additional state and district-based work in dozens of states is required.
- In California, co-sponsored and passed SB 250 (Hertzberg), making California the largest state yet to ban lunch shaming practices.
- Advised ongoing enforcement efforts in states that have successfully passed similar legislations in Minnesota,Oregon, and New Mexico.
- Collaborated on report on lunch shaming in Massachusetts.
- Drafted model legislation with Legal Advisory Council to eliminate shaming practices.
- Launched preliminary research efforts on legislations in Louisiana, Kansas, and New Jersey.