We are writing in support of L.D. 1684 — the so-called “food shaming” bill. All children deserve to eat at school regardless of their economic status. There is much research that proves that well-fed students perform better in school, which helps prepare students to become healthy, successful adults. Schools exist to help our children become productive members of society; students who are hungry cannot reach their full potential. It is our responsibility to make sure they can become their best, and proper nutrition is part of that.

Some would argue that providing an alternate meal for students who have charged too many meals does provide for their nutritional needs. Would you feel comfortable eating, say, a peanut butter sandwich and single apple when everyone else around you was having beef stew with a side salad? Many kids would choose to go hungry rather than be seen being served an alternate meal.

It is vital that school districts provide the proper attention and paperwork to families who need support. It is an adult responsibility to secure payment, by administration and parents working together to ensure bills are paid, or free and reduced lunch status is secured. Children do not need to worry about whether their parents are upholding their financial responsibilities, or have to pay for their food by doing school jobs. It is unfair and stigmatizing for children to be singled out or given a separate meal because their parents can’t pay for their school lunch.

As school employees, we see the impact of hunger and food insecurity on our students. Kids should be free to be kids, and eat healthy, nutritious meals at school so they can reach their full potential as adults.

Rachel Buck

alternative ed teacher

Dirigo High School

 

Bethany Higgins

school social worker

Carrabec Community School


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