A bill prohibiting lunch shaming in schools succumbed in a close committee vote, but a successful smoke-out attempt advanced it.
On Tuesday (2/13), Senate Education committee members voted 4-3 against Senate Bill 162, which prohibits school lunch shaming. However, a smoke-out attempt succeeded on the Senate floor and resulted in Senate Education committee members voting to deliver the bill to the floor with a “Do Not Pass” recommendation.
“This is really our chance to say, ‘In South Dakota we are better than this,’” Sen. Troy Heinert, the bill’s prime sponsor, said during SB 162’s committee hearing. “I don’t think (schools) want to shame children.”
“Sometimes we get wrapped up in the fiscal side of things without looking at the psyche of the child.”
ASBSD supported the bill.
“I rise in the spirit of the bill,” Executive Director Wade Pogany testified. “We should never humiliate a child.”
Pogany noted how the matter is “a dilemma for schools” due to “the issue of the balance” in providing school lunch, but also receiving the payment for the school meal.
Opponents of the bill noted any debt left unpaid at the end of the school year had to be covered by a district’s general fund and requested each side discuss best practices to ensure the matter is resolved.
Sen. Deb Soholt asked the groups to “try to come up with some direction to not put the kid in the middle” of the matter.
ASBSD will continue to collaborate with school nutrition and lunch association representatives on the matter to attempt to find a resolution in addition to what’s being discussed legislatively.
“I think this is a good discussion at the state level,” Pogany said.
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