Newsweek features scholar's essay on school lunch shaming

School lunch items

A UO education professor’s call for providing free meals for all public school children, originally presented in an essay for The Conversation, has been picked up online by Newsweek magazine.

In her article, Sarah Riggs Stapleton of the UO’s Department of Education Studies takes on the "shaming" of students, most often from low-income families, for their outstanding meal debts.

In a New York Times article earlier this year, it was reported that shaming is widespread, done in almost half of all U.S. school districts to compel parents to pay their bills. Legislation is now pending in both the U.S. Senate and House that would end such practices.

In her essay, Stapleton wrote that “for the first time in our history, the majority of students in U.S. schools are living in poverty.” All students need dignity and compassion, she said. “Moreover, access to food is a basic human need and should be considered a right — regardless of income.”

See the Newsweek coverage: “Kids Need Access to School Lunches, Not Shame.”