The federal government is taking action to stop lunchroom shaming.
Students said the shaming happens when they don’t have money to pay for the food. Some people are stepping up to make a difference.
When children don’t have money, sometimes, they don’t get the same food served to students who do.
It happened to 8-year-old Julien.
“I was embarrassed,” Julien said.
Instead of what was on the menu, he got a sandwich.
“I wanted to eat, but I couldn’t,” Julien said.
Parents said it’s embarrassing, and people all across Oklahoma want to help.
“I checked with the school, and they were short of funds, so I made up the difference,” Eric Moreau said.
Moreau gave $1,000, so children at Canyon Ridge Intermediate who either don’t have money or have a balance can eat the food of the day. It brought him to tears when asked why he did it.
“So they wouldn’t feel bad. I don’t know if I can do this,” Moreau said.
Moreau said he wants to make sure no children feel left out, inferior or different is important him as a grandfather.
“They can go to school knowing, ‘I’m going to get the same meal that other kids get. I won’t have to be singled out if your parents are poor or you’re poor,’” Moreau said.
Moreau isn’t the only one. Janice Collins has been a lunch lady for 21 years. She has seen children without money or children who owe all too often.
“A lot of times I go in my own pocket to pay for a kid’s lunch, because I don’t want to see any child go without,” Collins said.
The complaints have reached the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Department of Education.
“USDA noticed over the course of several years some lunch shaming happening across the nation,” said Deana Silk, with the Oklahoma Education Department.
As a result, lunchroom policies are now being required by July 1. Each district will come up with their own charge policies. They will submit those to the state. Districts are opting for different ways to avoid shame, hunger and deficits.
“It’s not their fault that they don’t have the money for their food, so we want to make sure they are getting food, and there is no shaming going on,” Silk said.
WEBVTT DONOT HAVE MONEY TO PAY FOR THEFOOD.MECCA HAS THE STORY.MECCA: WHEN KIDS DO NOT HAVE THEMONEY, THEY DO NOT GET THE FOODSERVED TO KIDS WHO DO.THAT IS WHAT HAPPENED.INSTEAD OF WHAT WAS ON THE MENU,A SANDWICH.PARENTS SAY IT IS EMBARRASSING,AND PEOPLE ALL ACROSS OKLAHOMAWANT TO HELP AN HOUR ARE, LIKETHIS GRANDFATHER.– HELP AND ARE, LIKE THISGRANDFATHER.THEY DO NOT HAVE MONEY OR HAVE ABALANCE.THEY CAN EAT THE FOOD.IT BROUGHT HIM TO TEARS WHEN WEASKED HIM WHY HE DID IT.>> I DO NOT KNOW IF I CAN DOTHIS.MECCA: LATER, TELLING US HEWANTS TO MAKE SURE NO HIT FEELSLEFT OUT OR DIFFERENT, IMPORTANTTO HIM AS A GRANDFATHER.>> I’M GOING TO GET THE SAMEMEAL AS ALL OF THE OTHER KIDSGET.NOT BEING SINGLED OUT THAT MYPARENTS ARE POOR OR THAT I AMPOOR.MECCA: A LUNCH LADY HAS SEEN ITALL TOO…