Cherry Hill School District amends outstanding lunch debt policy

The Cherry Hill School District voted Tuesday night to change its outstanding lunch debt policy after they came under fire. 

"It fills me with absolute dismay that this board would ever consider such a regulation for our children," Dr. Vibiana Bowman Cvetkovic said.

There was fiery public comment at a Cherry Hill Board of Education meeting about the long-discussed controversial school lunch policy.

Critics called it food shaming. In its previous form, students whose parents had an outstanding school lunch bill of $10 dollars or more were given tuna fish.

Following the vote, children can now eat whatever they want. However, in the amended policy voted on at $75 dollars in arrears, children are no longer allowed to participate in school activities, attend class field trips or go to prom.

Jacob Graff is a Senior at Cherry Hill East and a student representative at school board meetings.

"I think what this policy does is harms students," Graff said. "If my mom or dad can’t afford to pay for lunch why should I be restricted from pursuing my passions."

The updated policy calls for greater outreach and communication between school officials and parents who neglect to pay their child’s school lunch bill.

Superintendent Dr. Meloche says he commends the school board for sticking with the discussion to get to a vote.

"Sometimes the right thing is not the easy thing to do," Dr. Meloche said. "The goal of what we do is responsibility with compassion."