State lawmaker objects to changes made to his so-called "lunch shaming" bill

Feb 5, 2020

State Rep. John Ray Clemmons (D) Nashville, TN.
Credit capitol.tn.gov

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Mike Osborne) -- Legislation to end so-called lunch shaming of public school students advanced in the Tennessee House yesterday, but not before changes were made the sponsor says changed the intent of his bill.

 

Nashville Democrat John Ray Clemmens wants to end the practice of punishing students who run up an unpaid lunch tab. Democrats and some Republicans supported the bill as written.

 

But several GOP legislators complained the measure went too far, including Lancaster Rep. Terri Lynn Weaver.

 

“By constantly having a free ticket to not be responsible is not teaching responsibility for our children.” 

An amendment makes some working teens responsible for their lunch debt . It also encourages schools to report certain parents who fail to provide lunch money to the Department of Children’s Services.

 

The measure goes next to the full House Education Committee where Rep. Clemmons hopes to find the support he would need to return the bill to its original language.