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New laws give teachers a break, ban lunch debt collections

May 21, 2022 GMT

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — Two new laws in South Carolina require every school give elementary school teachers a 30-minute break each day without students and ban districts from turning over school lunch debt to collection agencies.

The bills were passed in the final days of the 2022 General Assembly session and signed into law by Gov. Henry McMaster. Both passed the House and Senate unanimously.

The break bill requires teachers in elementary school and special education teachers who have students in their classes for most of the day get 30 minutes without any assigned duties or responsibilities.

Teacher groups requested the law, saying some teachers never had time to eat a lunch or even use the bathroom because they were watching students.

A second bill prohibits school districts from turning over debt a student owes for school lunches to a collection agency. Supporters said students need to eat regardless of their ability to pay and turning debt over to a collection agency was too drastic of a step.