916 adopts more equitable lunch protocols

Northeast Metro 916 adopts more equitable lunch protocols
Posted on 11/07/2017
Lunch at 916

During the 2017-18 school year, Northeast Metro 916 changed their lunch protocols to better honor the dignity and privacy of students whose parents have not paid their lunch bills.

In the past, students who had unpaid lunch balances were served an alternate lunch, like a cheese sandwich, in order to help the school district rein in costs. This is one of many common practices that school districts employ across the country that can inadvertently identify students by their income or family situation. This can lead to teasing, bullying or shame that follows a student throughout the school day, inhibiting their ability to learn.

This year, students who do not have enough money in their account are still allowed to purchase a regular school meal for that school day, and district staff remind parents to pay negative lunch balances when they are able.

The school district is not giving away free lunches. We still hold parents and guardians accountable for paying their unpaid lunch balances, but we are doing to in a way that is more compassionate and ensures that no student goes hungry or feels ashamed.

Parents and guardians are always encouraged to fill out an application to receive free or reduced-price meals, which would lower the overall balance that is owed.

School lunch services are provided to all Northeast Metro 916 students by school districts in the same geographic area as each school. When a student has an unpaid balance, Northeast Metro 916 is ultimately responsible for that bill, not the local district.