ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) : State senators and representatives will debate on Thursday legislation aimed at curbing so-called “lunch shaming” policies in Minnesota schools.

Some legal experts define the term as any school district policy that denies meals, bans participation in school activities or punishes kids who have meal debts.

The advocacy groups Hunger Solutions Minnesota and Mid-Minnesota Legal Aid released a list of their examples of lunch shaming policies across the state.

Floodwood Policy: “Seniors with negative balances will not be allowed to participate in the graduation ceremony.”

Roseville Policy: “Certain privileges (such as participating in extra-curricular activities, receiving a student parking pass or receiving caps and gowns for graduation) may be denied until debt is paid.”

Battle Lake Policy: “If a student has been informed that they are no longer allowed double portions or ala carte items and take them anyway, the student will be assigned detention which may progress to in-school suspension if the behavior continues.”

La Crescent-Hokah Policy: “Middle School: Accounts require prepayment. Students may be given a two day grace period (not to exceed $7) before meals are stopped.”

Minnesota House and Senate members are expected to hear debate regarding the possible legislation on Thursday afternoon.

Whole Senate bill.

A bill for an act
relating to education; prohibiting school lunch providers from shaming students; 

requiring meals policies to be posted to school Web sites; creating a supplementary 
reserve fund; amending Minnesota Statutes 2016, sections 119A.03, subdivision 
2; 124D.111; 270A.03, subdivision 2.


Section 1. 

Minnesota Statutes 2016, section 119A.03, subdivision 2, is amended to read:

Subd. 2.

Duties of commissioner.

The commissioner shall:

(1) identify measurable outcomes by which programs administered by the department 
will be evaluated at the state and local level;

(2) develop linkages with other state departments to ensure coordination and consistent 
state policies promoting healthy development of children and families;

(3) prepare, in consultation with the Children’s Cabinet and affected parties, prior to July 
1 of each year, guidelines governing planning, reporting, and other procedural requirements 
necessary to administer this chapter;

(4) facilitate inclusive processes when designing or implementing guidelines and strategies 
to achieve agency goals for children and families;

(5) facilitate intergovernmental and public-private partnership strategies necessary to 
implement this chapter;

(6) submit to the federal government, or provide assistance to local governments and 
organizations in submitting, where appropriate and feasible, requests for federal waivers or 
recommendations for changes in federal law necessary to carry out the purposes of this 

(7) coordinate review of all plans and other documents required under the guidelines 
provided for in clause (3);

(8) coordinate development of the management support system components required 
for implementation of this chapter;

(9) coordinate and review local school meals policies according to section 124D.111;

(10) review other programs serving children and families to determine the feasibility 
for transfer to the Department of Education or the feasibility of inclusion in the funding 
consolidation process; and

(10) (11) monitor local compliance with this chapter.


This section is effective July 1, 2018.

Sec. 2. 

Minnesota Statutes 2016, section 124D.111, is amended to read:


Subdivision 1.

School lunch aid computation meals policies.

(a) Each Minnesota
participant in the national school lunch program must adopt and post to its Web site, or the
Web site of the organization where the meal is served, a model school meals policy. For
school district and charter school participants, the school board must annually affirm the
model meals policy and inform parents of the school meals policy.

(b) The policy must be in writing and clearly communicate student meal charges when
payment cannot be collected at the point of service. The policy must be reasonable,
well-defined, and maintain the dignity of students by prohibiting lunch shaming or otherwise
ostracizing the student.

(c) The policy must address whether the participant uses a collections agency to collect
unpaid school meals debt.

(d) The policy must ensure that once a participant has placed a meal on a tray or otherwise
served the meal to a student, the meal may not be subsequently withdrawn from the student
by the cashier or other school official whether or not the student has an outstanding meals

(e) If a school contracts with a third party for its meal services, it must provide the vendor
with its school meals policy. Any contract between the school and a third-party provider
entered into or modified after the effective date of this act must ensure that the third-party
provider adheres to the participant’s school meals policy.

Subd. 1a. 

Commissioner’s duties. 

The commissioner of education must develop a
model school meals policy and post that policy on the department’s Web site. The
commissioner must annually notify participants in the national school lunch program that
their policies must be approved and posted to their Web sites. The commissioner must also
publicize the statewide unpaid school lunch account established in subdivision 1b, and
encourage donations to that account and to local schools for unpaid meals.

Subd. 1b. 

School lunch aid amounts. 

(a) Each school year, the state must pay participants 
in the national school lunch program the amount of 12.5 cents for each full paid and free 
student lunch and 52.5 cents for each reduced-price lunch served to students.

(b) For any meals served by a participant without a model policy adopted under
subdivision 1, the state shall pay the amounts otherwise earned under paragraph (a) for the
time period for which no policy has been adopted to the unpaid school lunch account
established in paragraph (c).

(c) An unpaid school lunch account is created in the special revenue fund. Payments
under paragraph (b) must be deposited in the unpaid school lunch account. Any school meal
donations received by the commissioner must also be deposited in this account. Each year,
the balance in the unpaid school lunch account is appropriated to the commissioner for
proportional distribution to charter schools and school districts with unpaid lunch balances.

Subd. 2.


A school district, charter school, nonpublic school, or other 
participant in the national school lunch program shall apply to the department for this 
payment on forms provided by the department. The participant annually must submit its
school meals policy to the department in the form and manner specified by the department.

Subd. 2a.

Federal child and adult care food program; criteria and notice.

commissioner must post on the department’s Web site eligibility criteria and application 
information for nonprofit organizations interested in applying to the commissioner for 
approval as a multisite sponsoring organization under the federal child and adult care food 
program. The posted criteria and information must inform interested nonprofit organizations 

(1) the criteria the commissioner uses to approve or disapprove an application, including 
how an applicant demonstrates financial viability for the Minnesota program, among other 

(2) the commissioner’s process and time line for notifying an applicant when its 
application is approved or disapproved and, if the application is disapproved, the explanation 
the commissioner provides to the applicant; and

(3) any appeal or other recourse available to a disapproved applicant.

Subd. 3.

School food service fund.

(a) The expenses described in this subdivision must 
be recorded as provided in this subdivision.

(b) In each district, the expenses for a school food service program for pupils must be 
attributed to a school food service fund. Under a food service program, the school food 
service may prepare or serve milk, meals, or snacks in connection with school or community 
service activities.

(c) Revenues and expenditures for food service activities must be recorded in the food 
service fund. The costs of processing applications, accounting for meals, preparing and 
serving food, providing kitchen custodial services, and other expenses involving the preparing 
of meals or the kitchen section of the lunchroom may be charged to the food service fund 
or to the general fund of the district. The costs of lunchroom supervision, lunchroom custodial 
services, lunchroom utilities, and other administrative costs of the food service program 
must be charged to the general fund.

That portion of superintendent and fiscal manager costs that can be documented as 
attributable to the food service program may be charged to the food service fund provided 
that the school district does not employ or contract with a food service director or other 
individual who manages the food service program, or food service management company. 
If the cost of the superintendent or fiscal manager is charged to the food service fund, the 
charge must be at a wage rate not to exceed the statewide average for food service directors 
as determined by the department.

(d) Capital expenditures for the purchase of food service equipment must be made from 
the general fund and not the food service fund, unless the restricted balance in the food 
service fund at the end of the last fiscal year is greater than the cost of the equipment to be 

(e) If the condition set out in paragraph (d) applies, the equipment may be purchased 
from the food service fund.

(f) If a deficit in the food service fund exists at the end of a fiscal year, and the deficit 
is not eliminated by revenues from food service operations in the next fiscal year, then the 
deficit must be eliminated by a permanent fund transfer from the general fund at the end of 
that second fiscal year. However, if a district contracts with a food service management 
company during the period in which the deficit has accrued, the deficit must be eliminated 
by a payment from the food service management company.

(g) Notwithstanding paragraph (f), a district may incur a deficit in the food service fund 
for up to three years without making the permanent transfer if the district submits to the 
commissioner by January 1 of the second fiscal year a plan for eliminating that deficit at 
the end of the third fiscal year.

(h) If a surplus in the food service fund exists at the end of a fiscal year for three 
successive years, a district may recode for that fiscal year the costs of lunchroom supervision, 
lunchroom custodial services, lunchroom utilities, and other administrative costs of the food 
service program charged to the general fund according to paragraph (c) and charge those 
costs to the food service fund in a total amount not to exceed the amount of surplus in the 
food service fund.

Subd. 4.

No fees.

A participant that receives school lunch aid under this section must 
make lunch available without charge to all participating students who qualify for free or 
reduced-price meals.

Subd. 5. 

Respectful treatment. 

The participant must also provide meals to participating
students in a respectful manner according to the policy adopted under subdivision 1 and
ensure that any reminders for payment of outstanding student meal balances do not demean 

or stigmatize any child participating in the school lunch program and conform to the
participant’s school meals policy


This section is effective July 1, 2018.

Sec. 3. 

Minnesota Statutes 2016, section 270A.03, subdivision 2, is amended to read:

Subd. 2.

Claimant agency.

“Claimant agency” means any state agency, as defined by 
section 14.02, subdivision 2, the regents of the University of Minnesota, any district court 
of the state, any county, any statutory or home rule charter city, including a city that is 
presenting a claim for a municipal hospital or a public library or a municipal ambulance 
service, a hospital district, a private nonprofit hospital that leases its building from the county 
or city in which it is located, any ambulance service licensed under chapter 144E, any public 
agency responsible for child support enforcement, any public agency responsible for the 
collection of court-ordered restitution, any school district, and any public agency established 
by general or special law that is responsible for the administration of a low-income housing 

Read full Bill Here: