Fair Lawn students publicly shamed, graduation threatened over lunch money
Wednesday morning an assembly was called for students at Fair Lawn High School. It was supposed to be a graduation prep, but it quickly turned into something unexpected. The administration began calling out by name seniors whose parents owed lunch money to the school. One by one names were read aloud while fellow students laughed at and mocked them. It was a purposeful public shaming. The administration went on to explain that unless things like lunch accounts were paid in full or money for overdue library books was paid up, these seniors would not be allowed to walk in their graduation ceremony and in fact their diplomas would be withheld.
Yes, that really happened. According to the Daily Beast, senior Benny Koval tweeted a picture of the assembly with the message, “My high school's having a name & shame for students who owe lunch and/or book money. Admins say they won't graduate unless debts are covered.”
This is not the first time this sort of thing has happened. Last year officials at a school in Alabama stamped the words "I need lunch money" onto an 8 year old boy's arm to shame his parents into paying. A school in the Phoenix area did the same thing to a second grade child. This sort of lunch money shaming was actually banned in New Mexico recently.
If you have compulsory education in this country and you have fulfilled your academic requirements and are owed your high school diploma, what right should a school have to deny you? You're an unemancipated minor child who is not legally responsible for your own care. This is between the parents and the school. To deny graduation to a senior who otherwise earned it is despicable.
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