Lawmakers hold hearings on ‘lunch shaming’ and dyslexia education bills

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MADISON (WKOW) — Wisconsin lawmakers held public hearings on several education bills on Thursday.

The first bill would focus on helping children who have dyslexia.

Legislation would require the Department of Public Instruction (DPI) to create a handbook for parents, teachers, and administrators on how to detect and assist students with dyslexia and other conditions. A separate bill would create a new position at DPI to hire a dyslexia specialist to support school districts and students. Under the proposal, the specialist would make a yearly salary of $95,000.

The bill passed the committee along party lines.

Another bill would impose requirements to ‘lunch shaming.’ The practice singles out students with lunch debt. Lawmakers say the solutions school districts come up with to alleviate the overdue tabs may have a negative impact on students and their well-being.

“If their parent can’t pay, I don’t think they should have to deal with those issues,” State Senator Lena Taylor (D-Milwaukee) said. “More importantly, in the end, it’s our job to want our children to also succeed in school.”

The proposal would require certain schools to provide a school lunch or breakfast to any student who requests a meal. It also prohibits those schools from taking actions against a student who is unable to pay for those meals, and requires schools to provide information and take actions related to applications for free or reduced-price meals.

Some lawmakers said Thursday they’re worried parents won’t pay lunch fees if there is a free lunch option. Supporters of the bill say it puts school in a position where they can create or enhance policies to address the compensation.

Emily Friese

Emily Friese

27 News Producer

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