SACRAMENTO (AP) – California lawmakers say children shouldn’t be denied a healthy meal at school if their parents fail to pay their lunch bills.

A bill to ban the practice of so-called “lunch shaming” is heading to Gov. Jerry Brown after passing the Senate on Thursday. That means students can’t be publicly shamed or given a different meal than other students if their parents fail to pay. It also requires local education authorities to help families sign up for free- and reduced-lunch programs if they can’t pay.

Backers of the bill say children shouldn’t be used as debt-collection instruments.

Several states are pursuing efforts to stop lunch shaming kids. The U.S. Agriculture Department now requires districts to adopt policies to inform parents about meal debts, but it’s not banning any practices.

Copyright 2017 The Associated Press.