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State

Bill seeks to halt ‘lunch shaming’ in Iowa schools

DES MOINES (AP) — Lawmakers signed off on a bill Monday that will prevent Iowa students from being treated unfairly by school officials if their parents owe lunch money.

Under the bill, Iowa schools would be prohibited from so-called “lunch shaming” tactics, including publicly identifying students whose parents owe money or throwing away meals that were already served. Schools would be allowed to accept private donations to pay off individual students’ debts.

Many students receive free meals through the federal school lunch program. However, Iowa schools aren’t required to serve meals to other students whose parents don’t qualify for free meals. School policies vary on whether those students still receive meals.

The bill passed both chambers of the Legislature unanimously and now goes to Gov. Kim Reynolds for her signature.

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