Illinois governor signs law to end 'lunch-shaming' policies at schools

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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WTHR) – A new law in Illinois will now put an end to practices known as 'lunch shaming' at schools.

Lunch shaming has become known as situations where school cafeteria employees take away a child's lunch tray because they don't have enough money in their account, the schools serves a cheap sandwich when a student can't afford lunch or when the school sends the student home with conspicuous debt reminders like hand stamps or wristbands.

The lunch shaming polices have earned national attention, even pushing celebrities like T.I. to stand up for the students. Actor and rapper T.I. paid for a Florida girl's lunch for the year after she was embarrassed by a school employee for being short 15 cents.

Attorney Kristen Clarke with the Washington, D.C.-based Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law was so moved by the story that she opened a GoFundMe account for students and their families who could not afford school lunch.

Along with the GoFundMe account, The Lawyers' Committee sent a formal letter to the Volusia School District and University High School in Florida asking them to revise their policies to ensure that no student goes hungry in the future.

Now, Illinois lawmakers are stepping up to make sure students don't go hungry.

Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner has signed SB 2428 into law, making it effective immediately.

The new law states that every school will be required to provide a meal for every student that requests one.

If a student can't afford the lunch, the school can contact the parents but the school will not be allowed to throw away the meal, force the students to wear a wristband or call them out in any way.

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