November 22, 2017 06:13 PM
State lawmakers are vowing to make changes and establish consequences if school districts continue to shame and demean students over school meal accounts.
That comes in response to a school district in southern Minnesota - Stewartville - that took food away from a student because they had a negative balance.
Gov. Mark Dayton had some harsh words for such a policy Wednesday, as did state lawmakers who said there needs to be enforcement of current law.
"This defies good judgment and basic adult common sense," Dayton said at a press conference Wednesday. "You just don't humiliate students for factors that are outside their control."
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Dayton, who addressed the issue of lunch access in 2014, expressed disbelief school boards and districts could condone this.
"Really, to me, it's school-sanctioned bullying that we are doing to out kids," Rep. Sarah Anderson said.
Anderson said dumping a lunch tray isn't the only way schools around the state continue to shame students.
"I've gotten some photos where they've even branded kids by stamping their hands and putting stickers on them," she said.
Anderson said she didn't initially think it would be necessary. But now she believes teeth need to be added to the current bill.
"I have had some discussions about holding back aid from the state," she said. "Funding they receive from the state. To what degree, I'm just kind of figuring that out talking with my colleagues about what they think would be an appropriate response."
Education Commissioner Brenda Cassellius issued a note to the state's superintendents saying such polices are unacceptable.
"I am alarmed that we are still hearing about violations of state law that shame and/or demean our kids," it read in part. "I would caution us all in our assumptions about a family's ability to pay."
Updated: November 22, 2017 06:13 PM
Created: November 22, 2017 02:53 PM
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