New Mexico bans 'lunch shaming' students who don't have lunch money



New Mexico will become the first state in the union to ban the practice of shaming and or forcing labor out of kids for not having enough lunch money.

The law will apply to all schools -- public, private or religious -- that get federal money for their lunch programs. Across the country, students can get stamped, called out, or even forced to clean lunch tables as tactics to pay their lunch balances.

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Governor Susana Martinez signed the new legislation after it was introduced by State Senator Michael Padilla.

Padilla was a foster child and says he was subject to this type of shaming. He told The New York Times "it was really noticeable" to other children that he was growing up in poverty.

The Department of Agriculture has published a list of ways to make this process less scarring for young children. One guideline includes speaking to kids before they get in the lunch line to let them know they will receive a cold meal, like a sandwich, as opposed to a hot meal.