California governor signs measure banning ‘lunch shaming’

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Lunch Debt Donors_1558090793205

FILE – In this Jan. 25, 2017, file photo, students fill their lunch trays at J.F.K Elementary School in Kingston, N.Y., where all meals are now free under the federal Community Eligibility Provision. A donor inspired by a tweet raised money to pay off lunch debt in districts around the country, as well as thousands […]

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California’s governor has signed into law a bill that guarantees all students a state-funded meal of their choice, even if their parent or guardian has unpaid meal fees.

The measure bans the practice of “lunch shaming,” in which students who owe the school money for meals are denied food or given a cheaper alternative meal.

Under the new law, a school can no longer give a student a cheaper alternative meal.

In a statement Saturday, Gov. Gavin Newsom thanked Ryan Kyote, a third-grader at an elementary school in Napa County who brought national attention to the practice earlier this year by paying for all the food service bills of his fellow students at the school.

“I want to thank Ryan for his empathy and his courage in bringing awareness to this important issue,” Newsom said.

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