AUGUSTA — The Legislature has approved a bill to require that students are fed a meal whether or not they are able to pay.

The bill was crafted to stop “food shaming,” according to supporters. It’s headed to Democratic Gov. Janet Mills for signature.

The House Democratic Office says the bill “prohibits punishing, openly identifying or stigmatizing a student who cannot pay or who has payments due.”

The bill also requires that communication about payment for meals take place with parents or guardians and not with students.

Republican Sen. Marianne Moore of Washington co-sponsored the bill. Moore describes the bill as a bipartisan effort to stop children from being “treated as bill collectors.” Moore says hungry children don’t deserve shame, and that’ll be less likely in school now.

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