Warwick schools scrap policy that sparked "lunch-shaming" outrage
WARWICK, R.I. (WLNE) -- It’s been called a “lunch shaming” controversy, and it’s capturing attention around the nation and even the world.
But Tuesday night, the Warwick School Committee decided to strike that controversial policy.
That means students can choose a hot or cold lunch - regardless of whether their parents have paid the bill.
It comes after widespread backlash against the previous policy that forced students to have sun butter and jelly sandwiches if their parents didn’t pay the bill.
Celebrities and public figures even offered donations, including the CEO of Chobani Yogurt.
Some Warwick residents say their town shouldn’t get singled out for negative attention.
"It's been presented as a Warwick issue," said Jacob Madore of Warwick. "It's not a Warwick issue, it's a state issue. So let's not criticize the school committee of Warwick. How about we go to the state? Because if it's happening in Warwick, and it's happening in Cranston and so on – what does that tell you?"
But others say it’s a learning opportunity.
"We are hoping that the school committee comes up with a plan before September, so that this doesn't happen again next year," said Angelica Penta of Warwick. "Everyone says parents need to be held responsible. I'm sure there's a way they can figure out how to hold the parents accountable without shaming the child. And then the people that really do need the help, hopefully we can put a program in place for them."
Penta, owner of restaurant Gel's Kitchen, had originally made a donation that was rejected.
The school committee says it will now be accepting donations like hers and the one from Chobani.
But it postponed until next week its decisions on food service agreements, debt collections, and the details of what the new policy will be in the future.