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Virginia woman launches campaign to end lunch shaming in schools

(WJLA via CNN Newsource)

PRINCE WILLIAM Co., Va. (WSET) -- A Virginia mother is fighting to put an end to students getting bullied or shamed because their family can't afford to buy them lunch.

Adele Settle is on a one-woman battle to stop lunch-shaming in Virginia.

She's already got a GoFundMe page that raised more than $20,000 to make sure every Prince William County school child, approved for free lunch, didn't have any debt sent to collections.

This year, she has a $40,000 goal.

Settle told WJLA that too many children are lunch shamed by being served an alternative meal of a cereal bar and a juice box, when a family gets too far behind in paying their lunch bills.

She said Prince William County uses debt collection agencies and sometimes children are then bullied and humiliated.

Settle said she's hoping the Prince William School District will budget $300,000 to pay for debt funding in the annual school district budget.

"Feeding children is ultimately the base thing that we have to do to make sure that our kids can learn. They can't do well in standardized testing, they can't do well in athletics, they can do well with their grades if they haven't had a nutritious meal," Settle said.

The school district said it wants to help students who can't afford meals, but administrators will have to decide if they will pay that $300,000 to erase lunch debt.

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