Preventing the shaming of students who lack lunch money (3/16/2018)

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By Rep. Tony Jurgens, 3/16/2018

Hello from St. Paul,

This week, the Minnesota House Education Innovation Policy Committee heard my bill that prevents the shaming of students who lack school lunch money.

Late last year, news reports highlighted a school in Stewartville where students with negative school lunch balances had their meals tossed in the garbage, which is unacceptable. Since that report, I’ve heard from parents and others in other school districts in the metro area with similar experiences of having a child’s lunch dumped because their lunch account lacked sufficient funding. Since 2014, a law was put on the books to prevent exactly this sort of action, yet it happens anyway.

In order to help strengthen the current law, my proposal would require the Minnesota Department of Education to review its lunch policies and require individual school districts to put its lunch funding policy on its website, otherwise funding would be withheld.

I’ll soon be amending some new language onto this bill in order to increase its likelihood of House approval. It doesn’t go as far as I’d like, but it does seem to align with what other stakeholders and the Department of Education would like to see accomplished.

With all the attention we give to kids who bully and demean others, it is embarrassing that some adults in a lunchroom think it’s perfectly fine to embarrass a child with no lunch money. There is no scenario where lunchroom shaming should be allowed.

On March 14, Governor Dayton gave his final State of the State address. I was pleased to be joined by Hastings High School World History and Civics teacher Derek Fairbanks, and am hopeful he will be able to share his experience with his students.

Governor Dayton has done a number of things over the years that I don’t agree with. But I think he’s a good man and I certainly respect the office he’s served for the past eight years.

Earlier this week I was pleased to be able to finish my legislative work on time in order to attend the Nininger Township annual meeting. It’s always good to hear local township perspectives and priorities.

Soil and Water Conservation District representatives from both Washington County and Dakota County visited this week to discuss conservation funding.

The Minnesota Golf Course Superintendents Association also dropped by recently to discuss environmental progress that is being made in their industry to reduce water and fertilizer usage. Constituent Steve Willock was part of the group that visited.

Have a good weekend,

Representative Tony Jurgens
523 State Office Building
100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
Saint Paul, Minnesota 55155

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