School district bars students with lunch debts from field trips, prom

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FILE – In this Wednesday, July 10, 2019 file photo, 6-year-old elementary school students go through the lunch line in the school’s cafeteria in Paducah, Ky. Nearly a million students could lose their automatic eligibility for free school lunches under a Trump administration proposal that’s expected to reduce the number of people who get food stamps. In October 2019, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has released an analysis finding as many as 982,000 children could be affected by the change. (Ellen O’Nan/The Paducah Sun via AP)

CHERRY HILL, N.J. (WNCN) — A school district in New Jersey has changed its stance on unpaid lunch debts after a previous plan caused some controversy.

An old proposal by the Cherry Hill School District required students with a lunch debt greater than $10 to only be served tuna sandwiches, angering students and parents.

Now, the district is proposing that if a student falls $75 behind in paying for school lunches, they would be barred from attending school trips, prom or other functions, like school dances.

If the student is below $75 but no less than $25, parents would be required to come out to the school to discuss the outstanding balance.

The new measure can be waived by the school principal on a case-by-case basis and will become “personal and very individualized based on the needs and specific situation of individual children and families,” Superintendent Joseph Meloche said in a statement to People magazine.

“There are direct contacts, letters, and meetings that are held in accordance with the policy to provide assistance to families in arrears,” he said.

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