A New Jersey school district wants to ban students from attending prom if they have more than $75 in school lunch debt

Ashley Collman
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  • The Cherry Hill, New Jersey school board passed a new policy Tuesday night that allows schools to ban students from prom if they have a lunch debt of $75 or more.
  • Residents in attendance criticized the policy for blaming children for their parents' responsibilities.
  • However, the board said that school principals can decide whether to enforce the rule.
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A school district in New Jersey passed a new policy this week that will allow schools to bar students from attending prom if they have a school lunch debt above $75.

The Cherry Hill, New Jersey school district passed the new policy Tuesday night, according to the Courier Post.

The new policy was passed after the school district faced criticism for a rumor that students were being denied lunches if they carried a debt of more than $20. While the old policy allowed the district to enforce this rule, officials told the newspaper that it was never enforced.

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The new policy allows students to get a hot lunch if they're in the negative, but not a la carte items.

If high school students' lunch debt rises above $75, they can be barred from purchasing tickets for school dances — including the prom — until the bill is paid in full.

They also can be barred from extracurricular activities, attending class trips, and buying a yearbook. Elementary students can also face repercussions for a large lunch debt, and may not be allowed to participate in after-school events or go on class trips.

Read more: Students will reportedly face 'severe consequences' for a racist promposal sign

One resident in the room said the policy unfairly penalizes children for their parents' responsibilities.

"It is an elitist assumption on the part of this school board that parents are not paying this bill because they don't want to," resident Vibiana Cvetkovic said, according to the Courier Post.

According to the Courier Post, Elizabeth Idler said that if parents are "flat out refusing" to pay the bill, "why will stopping the children from going to activities entice them to pay further?"

And student board member Jacob Graff expressed concern that missing out on extracurricular activities would impact students' chances of getting into college.

Board president Eric Goodwin brushed away concerns, saying the policy was designed to help the district identify which students are in need. It was also pointed out that principals will have discretion on whether to enforce the rule.

Read the full story at the Courier Post»

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