Public hearing on school lunch debt bill set for Tuesday

Politics

HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — Public hearings will be held this week in Hartford focused on two bills, both involving schools.

This bill is about stopping hunger and stopping lunch shaming, making sure that students who cannot afford lunch still get fed and don’t get made fun of by other kids.

RELATED: CT lawmakers considering bill to prohibit discipline against students with unpaid lunch debt

Right now, school districts across the state are seeing school lunch debt on the rise. Families that don’t qualify for free lunch are still having trouble paying for lunch. Some school districts offer a cheap option to kids who cannot afford lunch, something like a tuna sandwich. It means the kid won’t go hungry, but all the other kids know that anyone eating a tuna sandwich is too poor to afford lunch and they make fun of that kid.

This bill would prohibit any kind of disciplinary action against kids who can’t pay and would allow districts to take money from philanthropists who want to help pay for school lunches. But what about a district that does not have a wealthy benefactor waiting to help out?

Those districts fear this is going to be another unfounded mandate. The state mandating that schools pay for regular lunches for every student without the state providing any funds to pay for the food. There’s also the problem of if nothing can happen to a student who does not pay for lunch, why would any student pay for lunch ever again?

If you want to speak out about school lunches, the legislative committee on children meets at 1 p.m. Tuesday at the Legislative Office Building.

Wednesday’s hearing will address the proposal to eliminate the state’s religious exemption for vaccines. A big turnout is expected after the rally outside of the capitol.

Check back to WTNH.com for updates.

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