School, National School Lunch Act, Constitutional, Fourteenth Amendment, Equal Protection Clause, Congress


For the past thirty years, the National School Lunch Act (Act) has attempted to advance two objectives; the preservation of the health and well-being of the nation's youth and the encouragement of domestic consumption of agriculture commodities. The Act provides for aid to state educational agencies that elect to participate in the National School Lunch Program (NSLP). The national standard for eligibility for free lunches is governed by 42 U.S.C. 1758. It is unclear whether the language of section 1758 which states "[l]unches served by schools participating in the school-lunch program," applies to individual participating schools or entire school districts with at least one participating school. Additionally, the denial of free lunch to a student based on the school he attends has also been challenged as an arbitrary classification of students in violation of the equal protection clause of the fourteenth amendment. The Act's general mandate that every eligible child shall receive a free lunch can only be effectuated by an amendment to the statute by Congress, because it is doubtful that a constitutional attack would be successful.

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