ST. PAUL (AP) -- Attorney General Keith Ellison says Minnesota school districts cannot block students from graduation ceremonies over unpaid lunch debt.

Ellison on Wednesday issued a written opinion citing two state laws governing school lunches and lunch aid. He says participation in a graduation ceremony ``cannot be restricted by your ability to afford your life.''

Ellison says his opinion comes at the request of Education Commissioner Mary Cathryn Ricker. Her request came after Mid-Minnesota Legal Aid said some districts were blocking students with meal debt from participating in graduation ceremonies.

That followed publicity over an $8,000 donation from Valerie Castile, mother of slain motorist Philando Castile, so that seniors at Robbinsdale Cooper High School in New Hope could graduate without debt.

That school says it has never blocked graduation participation over lunch debt.