Revisions to the State’s Template Prohibition Against Meal Shaming Plan

Revisions to the State’s Template Prohibition Against Meal Shaming Plan

 

KEEPING YOU INFORMED…

We are writing as a follow up to our May 4, 2018 client memorandum (attached) regarding the enactment of Education Law Section 908. This law requires covered schools[1] to submit, by July 1, 2018, a plan to the State Education Department (“SED”) electronic mailbox via cn@nysed.gov ensuring that a student whose parent/guardian has unpaid school meal fees is not shamed or treated differently than a student whose parent/guardian does not have unpaid school meal fees.

In our May 4 memorandum, we provided you with a link to SED’s template plan. SED recently made substantive revisions to that template plan. The revised template is available at http://www.cn.nysed.gov/content/meal-charge-and-prohibition-against-meal-shaming-policy-template.

The revisions include a correction of a substantive error in the original template. The original template included the following language in Section II, on page one: “A student will be allowed to charge a maximum of {enter number} meals to their account after the balance reaches zero.” We have been advised by SED that this language was included by mistake and was removed from the current version. Education Law Section 908 does not permit a school to limit the number of meals a student can charge after the student has insufficient funds in a pre-paid meal account. Rather, the law requires the school to provide the student with his/her meal of choice of the available reimbursable meals for the school day (not an alternative meal or a la carte item), unless the student’s parent/guardian has provided written permission for the school to withhold a meal. Thus, if a student whose pre-paid meal account reaches a zero balance requests a meal, the school must charge the student’s account and provide the student with his/her reimbursable meal of choice, unless the student’s parent/guardian provided written permission to withhold a meal.

SED has also revised its guidance document regarding the new law. The updated guidance document is available at http://www.cn.nysed.gov/content/revised-prohibition-against-meal-shaming. It advises that the template plan is only an example that is intended to serve as an illustration of a plan that is in accordance with both federal and State law and regulations.

If you have any questions or if you would like assistance drafting or revising your meal charges and prohibition against meal shaming plan, please contact Lauren Schnitzer at LS@lambbarnosky.com or 631-414-5849 or one of our other attorneys by calling 631-694-2300.

THIS MEMORANDUM IS MEANT TO ASSIST IN GENERAL UNDERSTANDING OF THE CURRENT LAW. IT IS NOT TO BE REGARDED AS LEGAL ADVICE. THOSE WITH PARTICULAR QUESTIONS SHOULD SEEK THE ADVICE OF COUNSEL.

© Lamb & Barnosky, LLP 2018

[1] Covered schools include public school districts, charter schools and non-public schools that participate in the national school lunch program or school breakfast program and in which there is at least one school where at least one student pays for breakfast or lunch.

Link to May 4, 2018 Memorandum