New Jersey School District Bans Students With Lunch Debt From Prom And Field Trips


Wednesday, October 23rd 2019, 2:17 pm
By: News 9


A school district in New Jersey has decided students who have more than $75 in lunch debt will be banned from several extra curricular activities. Students in Cherry Hill who have accrued debt will not be allowed to attend prom or go on field trips, the BBC reports.

The Cherry Hill school board president said the plan had a "balance of compassion" while also "holding people accountable," according to the BBC. 

The new policy was approved last week, CBS Philadelphia reports.

The measure replaces an old policy that said students who owed more than $10 would only be allowed tuna sandwich meals – and those with more than $20 in debt would get nothing.

Now, students who cannot pay will still receive hot lunch from the daily menu – but no a la carte items. This was seen as a solution to the old policy, but many feel banning students from activities like prom because they have lunch debt is still a form of "lunch shaming."

The reaction to the passage of the policy was largely negative, CBS Philadelphia reports. "What will happen in my daughter's classroom when one of her classmates can't go on the field trip?" one parent asked. "What will the children say about their classmates? It's sickening to think about, frankly."

The school board has been trying to find a solution for the thousands of dollars worth of unpaid lunch dues, according to CBS Philadelphia. Two years ago, the district forgave $25,000 in lunch debt and adopted a new policy to pressure parents to pay – or apply for free lunches if they couldn't.

This time, a businessman offered to bail the district out of lunch debt. Local supermarket chain owner, Steve Ravitz, posted on Facebook last month that he would be "happy to solve this issue." 

However, on October 18, Ravitz posted on the school district's Facebook page again. "[So] i understand that the board has decided to NOT accept any significant donation to help with the "lunch" issue .Strange," he wrote.

CBS News has reached out to Ravitz and Cherry Hill School District for comment. 

 

 

Several school districts have grappled recently with how to handle students' school lunch debts. 

 

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