Oregon - Unpaid meal charge policy--supports students: Program requirement

Area: 
Program Requirement
Policy Type: 
Statute
Summary: 

State law establishes a policy regarding unpaid meal charges that prohibits shaming and/or denying meals.

Oregon Revised Statutes 327.537 Requirements for providing reimbursable meals; prohibitions and requirements when student owes money.

(1) A school district that makes meals accessible to students at school sites under the United States Department of Agriculture’s National School Lunch Program or School Breakfast Program:

  • (a) Must provide a United States Department of Agriculture reimbursable meal to a student who requests the meal:
    • (A) Unless the student’s parent or guardian has provided written permission to the school district to withhold a meal from the student; and
    • (B) Regardless of whether the student has money to pay for the meal or owes money for meals; and
  • (b) May not require that a student throw away a meal after the meal has been served because of the student’s inability to pay for the meal or because money is owed for meals.

(2) If a student owes money for five or more meals, a school district shall:

  • (a) Determine if the student has been identified as being categorically eligible for free school meals and can be directly certified without application;
  • (b) If the student has not been identified as described in paragraph (a) of this subsection, make at least two attempts to contact the student’s parent or guardian to have the parent or guardian fill out an application to determine if the student is eligible for free or reduced price lunches under the United States Department of Agriculture’s current Income Eligibility Guidelines; and
  • (c) If the student is not eligible or the parent or guardian does not fill out an application as described in paragraph (b) of this subsection, make reasonable efforts to contact the parent or guardian and to offer assistance filling out an application, if appropriate.

(3) A school district may not:

  • (a) Publicly identify or stigmatize a student who cannot pay for a meal or who owes money for a meal by requiring that the student wear a wristband, hand stamp or other identifying marker or by serving the student an alternative meal; or
  • (b) Require a student who cannot pay for a meal or who owes money for a meal to do chores or other work to pay for meals, unless all other students do similar chores or work regardless of whether money is owed for meals.

(4)(a) A school district shall direct communications about amounts owed by a student for meals to the student’s parent or guardian and not to the student.

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