Some schools require students who don’t have enough money to mop floors in exchange for a meal, or they bill their parents for the food. Want to move on to the next grade or receive your high school diploma without paying off that lunch debt?
...Some lawmakers are fighting back against “lunch shaming,” and now Good Samaritans across the United States have had enough of districts holding lunch debt over the heads of students and their families. Kindhearted people are taking their personal savings—or raising thousands of dollars online—to pay off the lunch debts of students they’ve never even met.
In Everett, Washington, a city of 106,000 about 25 miles north of Seattle, retired couple Tom and Christy Lee have become local heroes. Last week, the Lees paid a $5,495 lunch debt owed by 262 kids at 10 elementary schools in the Marysville School District.
“We buy goats for the ladies in Africa,” Tom Lee told local newspaper The Herald—and they wanted to give back more locally, too. The Lees planned to help out kids at the elementary school their son had attended in the 1990s, but quickly decided to pay off the lunch debts across the entire district. “In my 32 years in public education, it’s the first time I’ve seen something of this magnitude,” Superintendent Becky Berg told the paper.
---Excerpted from Good.is