Pennsylvania - 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.

Pennsylvania Unconsolidated Statutes Article XIII Section 1337. Nonprofit School Food Program.

(d) Boards of School Directors.

  • (2) Regardless of whether a student has money to pay for a school meal or owes money for school meals, each board of school directors shall establish a requirement for schools under its jurisdiction to provide a school food program meal to a student who requests one, unless the student’s parent or guardian has specifically provided written directive to the school to withhold a school meal.
  • (3) Each board of school directors shall require schools under its jurisdiction to comply with the following when a student owes money for five or more school meals:

    • (i) The school shall make at least two attempts to reach the student’s parent or guardian and have the parent or guardian apply for participation in the school food program.
    • (ii) The school may offer assistance with applying for participation in the school food program.

    Pennsylvania Unconsolidated Statutes Article XIII Section 1337. Nonprofit School Food Program.

(d) Boards of School Directors.

  • (4) Each board of school directors shall:
    • (i) Require schools under its jurisdiction to direct communications regarding money owed by a student for school meals to the student’s parent or guardian and not to the student if the student is enrolled in kindergarten through grade eight. For a student enrolled in grade nine through grade twelve, the board of school directors may require the schools to direct communications regarding a low balance or money owed by a student for school meals to the student if the communications are made individually to the student by appropriate school personnel and are made discreetly.
  • (ii) Permit schools under its jurisdiction to contact the student’s parent or guardian by means of a letter addressed to the parent or guardian that is delivered by the student.

(5) Each board of school directors shall prohibit schools under its jurisdiction from implementing the following:

  • (i) Publicly identifying or stigmatizing a student who cannot pay for a school meal or who owes money for school meals. It shall not constitute public identification or stigmatization of a student for a school to restrict privileges and activities of students who owe money for school meals if those same restrictions apply to students who owe money for other school-related purposes.
  • (ii) Requiring a student who cannot pay for a school meal to perform chores or other work to pay for the school meal. This subclause shall not apply if chores or other work are required of all students regardless of the student’s inability to pay for the school meal.
  • (iii) Requiring a student to discard a school meal after it was served to the student due to the student’s inability to pay for the school meal or the amount of money owed by the student for earlier school meals.
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