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Why the “Lunch Debt” Issue is so Personal for Me

When I was a child, the free lunch I received at school was often the only meal I would have all day. Yet there were often times when I would skip it so I could avoid the shame and stigma of standing in the “free lunch line.” Even for me, though, the concept of lunch debt – and the equally mind-boggling practice of lunch shaming that often accompanies it – is almost impossible to grasp.


Recently, a school district I attended in junior high made national news when it took lunch shaming to a whole other level, threatening to have students put in foster care as a scare tactic to get parents to pay their kids’ lunch debt. Needless to say, I had strong feelings about that.



Lunch trays, notebooks and other school supplies


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