How do you feel about one Rhode Island town's controversial new policy? 

A new lunch policy from the Warwick, Rhode Island School District has caused quite a stir over the past weeks, leading some to label the policy as “lunch shaming.” According to WPRI News, the policy said any students who had an outstanding balance on their accounts would be served with a sunflower seed butter and jelly sandwich or cheese sandwich in place of a hot meal.

Many companies such as Yogurt company Chobani have pledged donations towards paying off some of the debt that is owed and a GoFundMe page was even started to raise money. The policy was criticized by parents who have stated they believe it might cause students to be bullied.

Elizabeth Burke Bryant of RI Kids Count said, “Children can’t learn when they’re hungry.”

Burke Bryant is fighting for a change so low-income families, unable to afford lunches for their children, are accommodated and not penalized. According to WPRI, If Bryant’s provision is approved it would “provide free meals for all students within districts that have a large percentage of low-income families.”

Many other districts throughout Rhode Island and in Massachusetts have similar lunch policies. According to WWLP 22 News, in Agawam, the school district has made it clear none of its students will ever be turned down from a meal. However, if the policy is not followed they have the right to give a student an “alternative” meal. All children are given access to free breakfast and lunch as part of a federal program in Holyoke and Chicopee.

Do you agree or disagree with the new lunch policy? Should all school lunches be free?

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