Credo Action

End the humiliating practice of "lunch shaming"

Sign the petition

The petition to Congress reads:

"No child should ever be subjected to cruel and humiliating lunch shaming practices occurring in schools across the country. Pass the Anti-Lunch Shaming Act now."

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    End the humiliating practice of "lunch shaming"

    It's disgraceful, unbelievable and barbaric: branding kids with ink stamps, Sharpie markers or wrist bands, throwing perfectly good hot food in the trash, making children to perform janitorial duties or simply forcing kids to go hungry – all because their parents cannot afford to pay for lunch.

    It's the humiliating practice of "lunch shaming" – school policies that publicly single out poor students in an effort to force parents to pay lunch bills – and it's happening in school cafeterias across the country. We cannot count on the cruel and heartless Trump-DeVos administration to protect children at our schools, but recent action in Congress could stop this appalling practice once and for all.

    Progressive champion Rep. Rosa DeLauro has introduced legislation with her colleagues in both the House and Senate to end lunch shaming and ensure all children have access to a meal, regardless of their parents' ability to pay. We must pressure Congress to make this a priority and pass this bill before any more children are subjected to this deplorable practice.

    Tell Congress: Pass the Anti-Lunch Shaming Act now.

    News stories in the last few months detail young children – many who have language barrier issues – being shamefully singled out in school in front of their peers and forced to undergo public humiliation because of an unpaid lunch debt owed to the school.1 These students have absolutely no control over their families' finances, yet school administrators are abusing these children because of their parents' inability to pay.

    A recent study from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) found that nearly half of all school districts in the country practice some form of lunch shaming.2 And while some states like New Mexico have taken local action to stop these practices, federal law currently does not prohibit schools from stigmatizing students in this way, allowing schools to continue shaming children for no fault of their own.3

    Specifically, the Anti-Lunch Shaming Act would:4

    • Prohibit schools from stigmatizing children with hand stamps, wristbands or other public means;
    • Prevent schools from forcing children to perform chores in order to receive a meal;
    • Stop lunch workers from disposing of a meal after it's been served to a child; and
    • Require all communications regarding lunch bills be directed to parents or guardians instead of children.

    The USDA has given states until July to establish policies for dealing with unpaid school lunch debt, but its guidance does not prohibit these shaming practices. We must act now to ensure Congress establishes a nationwide standard to prevent lunch shaming for good and never allow another child to be humiliated again.

    Tell Congress: Pass the Anti-Lunch Shaming Act now.

    Thanks for all you do.


    1. Bettina Elias Siegel, "Shaming Children So Parents Will Pay the School Lunch Bill," The New York Times, April 30, 2017.
    2. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Special Nutrition Program Operations Study: State and School Food Authority Policies and Practices for School Meals Programs School Year 2011-12, March 2017.
    3. Bettina Elias Siegel, "New Mexico Outlaws School ‘Lunch Shaming,’" The New York Times, April 7, 2017.
    4. "H.R. 2401, 'Anti-Lunch Shaming Act of 2017,'" May 8, 2017.