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For what offense is a child being punished when their meal tray is taken away?

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NOTE: Please read the two important updates for 2017 at the bottom of this petition -

While working as a substitute teacher in a Central Texas school district I witnessed a truly sad situation -- during breakfast, one of my 4-year-olds slid her meal tray down to the cashier in order to pay for her meal but instead what she heard was an emphatic “You have no money!” followed by the removal of her meal tray.  

I live by my debit card and on this day I had absolutely no cash on me or I would have paid the $1.50 for the child's meal.  The student then sat at the table assigned to her class and was inconsolable for the next twenty minutes, while her classmates enjoyed their breakfast meals. This seems like cruelty on the part of the cashier, but sadly, she was just following school district policy in accordance with Texas law.

There is a law on the books that requires any Texas school district in which students use a prepaid meal card or account to purchase school meals, to have a grace period during which students continue receiving meals even after their accounts are depleted. This is a good law, as school financial matters are adult business and should not result in a child going hungry. However, it fails our children in one area: each district is allowed to determine how long this grace period is, and, it turns out, it doesn’t have to apply to all meals offered at school.

This was an error on the legislators’ part, and it must be changed to spare kids from such cruel embarrassment. Please join me in calling on the Texas legislature to amend the law to require all districts to continue providing all meals to students, regardless of account balance.

Sadly, the district I am teaching in chose to adopt a one-lunch grace period, meaning they will provide one lunch after a child’s account is depleted. As for breakfast and other meals provided by the school, the student gets nothing. This is ridiculous.

Studies have proven that children cannot learn when they are hungry, and everyone knows that suffering that kind of embarrassment in a school setting can be terribly upsetting for a child. I am not asking that parents and caretakers be absolved of their financial obligations. But repayment can be worked out among adults. Children are not the guilty parties in this scenario, and they should not be punished with hunger for mistakes their parents make.

This petition requests that the law be amended so that children in schools that use prepaid cards or accounts to purchase meals receive uninterrupted access to all meals served at the school, regardless of their account balance.  

Feel free to read the proposed amendment here, the new text that has been added is highlighted in green and the text to be removed is in red and has been struck through, the amended replacement text follows and is in black and bold.  I have tried to remain fiscally conservative and have changed as little as possible of the original bill -

          MAY 2017 UPDATE - MAY 2017 UPDATE - MAY 2017 UPDATE

It is clear that this petition has grown beyond its original stated purpose, the amendment of Texas HB 3562, the intent however, has never changed, I would like to put an end to what has become known as lunch shaming. 

In my opinion, this petition and the social media pages associated with it, have morphed into a launch point for ending lunch shaming on the national level. Clearly, the action taken by New Mexico to end lunch shaming has put the issue in the national spotlight, that’s a good thing. Let’s agree to support one another and any and all efforts to end lunch shaming nationwide. I have encouraged supporters from the beginning to address this issue locally, at your child’s school, school district, city and state. Check local school websites and locate their child nutrition policy, if you agree with their plan for dealing with delinquent meal accounts then that’s great, if not then call them out on social media in order to get like-minded supporters and together, call for change. Contact your local school board, contact local media outlets, make noise and rally supporters. There IS strength in numbers. I came across a Twitter page which address lunch shaming that is NOT state specific, Sadly, the page only has 10 followers, let’s rally behind a Twitter page so that the numbers reflect our strength and resolve regarding putting an end to shaming policies. If not this page then please choose and share another, we need a unified front and the pressure needs to stay on.



The Texas legislature failed to act on amending HB 3562 and that time has now passed, however one member of the 85th legislature DID propose HB 2159 which addresses many of the issues that were to be addressed through the amendment to HB 3562, I support HB 2159 100%.

The 85th legislative session will end on May 29th, THAT’S ABOUT 20 WORKING DAYS! At some point prior to the 29th, the legislature will have to vote on HB 2159, the bill that will put an end to lunch shaming in Texas.

If we don't make this change happen with the 85th legislature then our next opportunity won't be until the 86th legislature meets in 2019!!!

You can email/message the chair of the Texas House Public Education Committee, Rep. Dan Huberty, right here -

Let him know that you support HB 2159 and that you want to end the lunch shaming of children in Texas schools. It literally takes about 90 seconds, if you support this effort, please spare those few seconds and let the legislators know where you stand. I plan to write each committee member each day until they have voted on HB 2159, won’t you join me?

The entire Texas House Public Education Committee can be seen here, I'm sure they would ALL love to hear from you if you have the time, it only takes a minute but the impact might be tremendous -

Politicians respond to media attention, even social media, so please, PLEASE, continue sharing, re-sharing, tweeting and re-tweeting links to this page and or the petition itself; they say the squeaky wheel gets the grease, I say let's SQUEAK, IN UNISON!

This petition will be delivered to:
  • State Representative

    Lance Gooden

  • State Representative

    Ken King

  • State Representative

    Dan Huberty