Florida Senate - 2018                                    SB 1610
       By Senator Farmer
       34-00435-18                                           20181610__
    1                        A bill to be entitled                      
    2         An act relating to school meals; providing a short
    3         title; creating s. 1002.24, F.S.; providing
    4         definitions; requiring schools to provide certain
    5         information in specified formats relating to free and
    6         reduced-price meals; requiring schools to complete an
    7         application for free or reduced-price meals on a
    8         student’s behalf under certain circumstances;
    9         providing an exemption to such requirements; requiring
   10         a specific liaison to work with the Department of
   11         Agriculture and Consumer Services to ensure certain
   12         students receive meals; providing duties and
   13         responsibilities of schools relating to the provision
   14         of meals and contacting and assisting a student’s
   15         parent; prohibiting a school from taking specified
   16         actions relating to a student who cannot pay for a
   17         meal or who owes a meal debt; prohibiting parents from
   18         paying specified fees or costs relating to meal debts;
   19         providing for rule making; providing an effective
   20         date.
   22  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   24         Section 1. This act may be cited as the “Hunger-Free
   25  Students’ Bill of Rights Act.”
   26         Section 2. Section 1002.24, Florida Statutes, is created to
   27  read:
   28         1002.24Student access to school meals.—
   29         (1)For purposes of this section the term:
   30         (a)“Meal application” means an application for free or
   31  reduced-price meals under the National School Lunch Program or
   32  the School Breakfast Program.
   33         (b)“School” means a public school or nonprofit private
   34  school approved to participate in the National School Lunch
   35  Program or the School Breakfast Program.
   36         (2)(a)Each school must provide:
   37         1.A free, printed meal application in every school
   38  enrollment packet or, if the school chooses to use an electronic
   39  meal application, an explanation of the electronic meal
   40  application process and instructions for how a parent may
   41  request a printed meal application at no cost.
   42         2.A meal application and instructions in a language the
   43  parent understands. If a parent cannot read or understand a meal
   44  application, the school must offer assistance in completing the
   45  application.
   46         (b)If a school becomes aware that a student who has not
   47  submitted a meal application is eligible for free or reduced
   48  price meals, the school shall complete and file a meal
   49  application for the student pursuant to 7 C.F.R., s. 245.6(d).
   50         (c)Paragraphs (a) and (b) do not apply to a school that
   51  provides free meals to all students for an entire school year
   52  and does not collect meal applications.
   53         (3)A school district’s liaison for homeless children and
   54  youths, required under the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance
   55  Act, 42 U.S.C. s. 11432, shall coordinate with the Department of
   56  Agriculture and Consumer Services to ensure that homeless
   57  children and youths receive free and reduced-price meals. This
   58  subsection does not apply to nonprofit private schools.
   59         (4)Regardless of whether or not a student has money to pay
   60  for a meal or owes money for earlier meals, a school shall:
   61         (a)Provide a United States Department of Agriculture
   62  reimbursable meal to a student who requests one, unless a parent
   63  has specifically provided written permission for the school to
   64  withhold a meal.
   65         (b)If the student owes money for five or more meals:
   66         1.Check the state list of students categorically eligible
   67  for free meals to determine if the student is categorically
   68  eligible.
   69         2.Make at least two attempts, not including the meal
   70  application or instructions included in the enrollment packet,
   71  to reach the student’s parent and to request that the parent
   72  complete a meal application.
   73         3.Require the principal, an assistant principal, or a
   74  counselor to contact the parent to offer assistance with the
   75  meal application, determine if there are other issues within the
   76  household that have caused the student to have insufficient
   77  funds to purchase a school meal, and offer any other appropriate
   78  assistance.
   79         (c)Direct all communications regarding a student’s meal
   80  debt to his or her parent. However, a school may send a letter
   81  home with the student that is addressed to the parent.
   82         (5)A school may not:
   83         (a)Require a student to throw a meal away after it has
   84  been served because of the student’s inability to pay for the
   85  meal or because money is owed for earlier meals.
   86         (b)Publicly identify or stigmatize a student who cannot
   87  pay for a meal or who owes a meal debt, including, but not
   88  limited to, requiring a student to wear a wristband or hand
   89  stamp.
   90         (c)Require a student who cannot pay for a meal or who owes
   91  a meal debt to do chores or other work to pay for meals. This
   92  does not include chores or work required of all students
   93  regardless of a meal debt.
   94         (d)Require a parent to pay fees or costs from a collection
   95  agency hired to collect a meal debt.
   96         (6)The State Board of Education may adopt rules to
   97  administer this section.
   98         Section 3. This act shall take effect July 1, 2018.