HARRISBURG – The PA House approved a bill to provide school meal debt relief for PA public school students. House Bill 2180 would establish a School Meal Debt Fund within the state Department of Education providing $80 million to assist public schools in discharging school meal debt held by students beginning in the 2024-25 school year. It would also prohibit schools from engaging in lunch debt shaming practices such as providing students with alternative meals or requiring them to wear hand stamps, wristbands or other articles identifying the student as having school meal debt. It would prohibit schools from taking punitive actions against students, like suspension or detention, for eating meals they can’t afford. It would also prohibit threatening families with collections, lawsuits or reports to children and youth services. The bill encourages school districts to work with families who accumulate lunch debt to connect them to assistance and resources as needed. The bill now heads to the state Senate for consideration.