ill issue instructions to principals to give school lunch to any student who asks for it, even if they don’t have money to pay for it, she said Tuesday.
The de Blasio administration has long resisted a proposal pushed by the City Council to make school lunch free for all kids. But Fariña told the Council her policy is never to deny a student food, and she would make it official with written guidance sent to all schools.
“Those who may on a given day or week or whatever not have the required funds with them will get food. I will put out a memo immediately . . . to make sure that all principals understand that cafeteria workers are and should be giving out lunch to any student who needs it,” Fariña said.
“I will certainly put in writing to all principals that no child any time should be deprived of lunch.”
The majority of public school students qualify for free lunch, but backers of universal free lunch say some kids are too embarrassed to claim the freebie when their peers are paying, while other families struggle to afford the mid-day meal even if they don’t qualify to get it for free.
The city has instituted universal free lunch for middle schools, but declined to expand it citywide.
Councilman Ben Kallos (D-Manhattan) asked Fariña to also issue rules that school staffers could not go after parents to collect unpaid lunch fees later, but she declined to do that without studying it first.
“Students are not deprived of eating lunch because of money,” she said.