Today, the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF) sent a letter stressing the necessity for school meals to be provided during the COVID-19 pandemic to the Alabama State Superintendent of Education, State Board of Education, Department of Human Resources Commissioner, among other Alabama state leaders. The letter urges their respective offices to provide all necessary guidance and resources to support districts in implementing the provision of school meals for schoolchildren who are eligible to receive a free or reduced price lunch, and extend this provision to all children in need of meals during this time. Last week, LDF released a joint statement with over twenty other civil rights and education organizations that provided promising practices and recommendations to school administrators, teachers, parents, education and civil rights advocates, and policymakers that focused on important areas requiring attention to ensure student success, including the delivery of school meals.
For many children, school breakfasts and lunches are the only meals they can reliably expect to eat each weekday. However, since statewide school closures began, access to school meals has been inconsistent. LDF represents thousands of Black schoolchildren and their parents in school desegregation cases across Alabama. We are concerned that the suspension of school meal service is disproportionately harming Black students. Though Black children comprise less than 33 percent of the student population in Alabama public schools, they make up over forty-five percent of the economically disadvantaged students statewide. Additionally, Black households in Alabama are three times more likely than white households to not have access to a car. It is therefore imperative for districts to also offer meal delivery for families who lack transportation.
Read the letter to the Alabama State Superintendent of Education, which was also sent to the State Board of Education and Department of Human Resources Commissioner.
Founded in 1940, the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF) is the nation’s first civil and human rights law organization. LDF has been completely separate from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) since 1957—although LDF was originally founded by the NAACP and shares its commitment to equal rights. LDF’s Thurgood Marshall Institute is a multi-disciplinary and collaborative hub within LDF that launches targeted campaigns and undertakes innovative research to shape the civil rights narrative. In media attributions, please refer to us as the NAACP Legal Defense Fund or LDF.