District may back off 'lunch shaming' policy to give students cold sandwiches if they can't pay

A Rhode Island school district will possibly back off a controversial plan where they would have served cold sandwiches instead of hot lunches to students whose families owe lunch money.

Warwick Public Schools says it is owed more than $40,000 from outstanding lunch payments and cannot afford to absorb the costs.

The new policy was set to begin Monday, but many critics said the cold lunch plan targeted disadvantaged students and they argued against what they saw as an unfair "lunch shaming" program.

At a school board meeting on Wednesday, a subcommittee recommended that the students get their choice of lunch, regardless of account status. The school board will meet next week to further analyze the policy.

Pending legislation would change state law making free hot lunches available for all students regardless of income.

KTVU contributed to this report.