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Denying Meals and Milk to Children

United States Department of Agriculture

FNS Instruction 791-1
Rev. 1

Prohibition Against Denying Meals and Milk to Children as a Disciplinary Action

I.    PURPOSE

This Instruction prohibits the denial of meals and milk as a disciplinary action against any child who is enrolled in a school participating in the Child Nutrition Programs. Such denial of meals or milk is inconsistent with Sections 2 and 9 of the National School Lunch Act and Sections 2, 3, and 4 of the Child Nutrition Act of 1966.

II.   POLICY

Disciplinary action which indirectly results in the loss of meals or milk is allowable (e.g., a student is suspended from school). However, when the withholding of meals or milk isthe disciplinary action, it is inconsistent with the law and is not allowable (e.g., a student is suspended from school during the meal or milk period only).

III.  RESPONSIBILITIES

A.  State Agencies or Regional offices, where applicable, shall:

  • Notify all LEAs that denying a meal or milk to any eligible child as a disciplinary measure is contrary to the National School Lunch Act and the Child Nutrition Act of 1966.
  • Follow through as necessary with the appropriate LEA to correct and prevent recurrence of any reported instances of disciplinary action which directly results in denial of a paid, free or reduced price meal, or free or paid milk (if participating in the Special Milk Program).

B.  LEAs shall:

  • When considering a disciplinary action against any child, ensure that such action is consistent with the policy contained herein.
  • Make a reimbursable meal or milk available to any child attending school who, for disciplinary reasons, is not allowed to eat in the cafeteria.