Child Hunger Prevention and Fair Treatment Act of 2017
(a) For purposes of this section, "local educational agency" means a school, school district, county office of education, or charter school.
(b) (1) A local educational agency, including a local educational agency in which there is a school that is required to serve a free or reduced-price meal during the schoolday pursuant to Section 49550 and at which all pupils are not eligible to be served breakfast and lunch under the Community Eligibility Provision or Provision 2 of the federal National School Lunch Act (42 USC Sec. 1751 et seq.), shall ensure that a pupil whose parent or guardian has unpaid school meal fees is not shamed, treated differently, or served a meal that differs from what a pupil whose parent or guardian does not have unpaid school meal fees would receive under that local educational agency's policy. This paragraph does not prohibit a school from serving an alternative reimbursable meal to a pupil who may need one for dietary or religious reasons.
(2) If a local educational agency is required to provide to the department or to the United States Department of Agriculture a copy of the meal charge policy required pursuant to memorandum SP 46-2016 issued by the United States Department of Agriculture, the local educational agency or governing board or body of the local educational agency, as applicable, shall make that policy public.
(c) School personnel and volunteers at a local educational agency that serves nutritionally adequate meals to pupils during the instructional day shall not allow any disciplinary action that is taken against a pupil to result in the denial or delay of a nutritionally adequate meal, as defined in Section 49553, to that pupil.
(d) A local educational agency shall not take any action directed at a pupil to collect unpaid school meal fees. A local educational agency may attempt to collect unpaid school meal fees from a parent or guardian, but shall not use a debt collector, as defined in Section 803 of the federal Consumer Credit Protection Act (15 USC Sec. 1692a).
(e) A local educational agency shall notify a parent or guardian of the negative balance of a pupil's school meal account no later than 10 days after the pupil's school meal account has reached a negative balance. Before sending this notification to the parent or guardian, the local educational agency shall exhaust all options and methods to directly certify the pupil for free or reduced-price meals. If the local educational agency is not able to directly certify the pupil, the local educational agency shall provide the parent or guardian with a paper copy of, or an electronic link to, an application with the notification and contact the parent or guardian to encourage application submission.
(f) To the extent that the expense is reimbursable under the federal National School Lunch Program, a local educational agency shall reimburse school meal fees paid by a pupil's parent or guardian when fees were paid or unpaid fees debt accrued during any time that the pupil would have been determined, as identified by the local educational agency's review pursuant to subdivision (e), to be eligible for free or reduced-price school meals.
(g) Nothing in this section is intended to allow for the indefinite accrual of unpaid school meal fees.
(h) This section shall only apply to a local educational agency that provides school meals through the federal National School Lunch Program or the federal School Breakfast Program.
(Added by Stats. 2017, Ch. 726, Sec. 3.)