It’s the start of a new calendar year, and with that comes a batch of state laws affecting Orange County’s public schools and community colleges.
The slew of new laws for 2018 aims to address students health, social and emotional issues, along with targeting more tuition relief, and other issues.
Here is a list of the more prominent legislation taking effect.
Ending “meal shaming”
Students whose families owe money for school lunches will no longer be given only a snack, or nothing at all, until they’re all paid up on their meal plans. These students will get the same meal as all the other students. The bill will also end “meal shaming,” the practice used in some districts of verbally reprimanding students in the lunch line or stamping children’s hands as a reminder to their parents they owe money.
Water testing at schools
All public schools must now test yearly for lead in their water supplies. The law requires water agencies that serve schools to test for lead and report to parents if levels are above those considered safe for drinking. The water agency and school or district would then take immediate steps to provide a safe source of drinking water for students.
Tuition relief at community colleges
This new law would waive the $46 per unit fee for one academic year for first-time, in-state community college students. Students would need to commit to at least 12 units a semester and still submit their financial aid forms if eligible. There’s a catch though. Lawmakers still need to allocate funding in the 2018-19 budget to support the program.