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NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo Blasts Schools for ‘Lunch Shaming’ Low-Income Students

School Lunch APGosia Wozniacka
AP/Gosia Wozniacka

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo says he is determined to stop public school officials who engage in “public humiliation” of low-income students who are eligible for free or reduced-cost lunch by requiring them to wear special wrist bands or stickers, or offering alternative lunches.

“This administration remains committed to removing barriers to healthy food options, while providing a supportive, effective learning environment for students across this great state,” Cuomo said, as reported by the NY Daily News.

The Democratic governor’s plan – dubbed the No Student Goes Hungry Program – proposes a law that bans “any public act that humiliates a student who cannot afford lunch.”

The initiative also expands the time frame for low-income students to be served breakfast. Schools in which the majority of students are eligible for free or reduced-cost lunch would also serve breakfast after the start of the school day.

According to the news report, the school district of Newburgh, New York launched a “Breakfast after the Bell” program two years ago and subsequently “saw participation rates jump by more than 100%.”

Under Cuomo’s proposal, the state would provide approximately $7 million to support the expanded breakfast program for 1,400 schools.

In New York City, Democratic Mayor Bill de Blasio initiated free lunches for all public school students in the city in September.

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