A school cafeteria worker was fired for letting a boy who couldn’t afford lunch take food after promising to pay for it the next day.
Bonnie Kimball was dismissed from Mascoma Valley Regional High School last month, even though the student promptly settled up his $8 debt. She says one of her bosses approached her and said: ‘Do you understand what you did was wrong? That was theft.’
A sternly-worded letter sent to Kimball on April 9 added: ‘On March 28, a District Manager was on-site and witnessed a student coming through the line with multiple food items that you did not charge him for.
‘This in strict violation of our Cash Handling Procedures, the Schools Charge Policy and Federal Regulation governing free meals. Your final has been processed and disbursed to you.’
Kimball’s dismissal sparked outrage, according to CNN, with two other lunch room employees quitting the same day in protest at how she had been treated. The lunch lady, who worked as Masacoma for four and a half years said: ‘We miss (the students) very much and wish we could still feed them every day.
Cafe Services, which runs the school’s catering services, insists that the boy would have been fed even if Kimball hadn’t stepped in. They are said to have castigated her for letting him have an ‘a la carte’ lunch, rather than the ‘lunch of the day’ given to students who cannot pay.
Spokesman Jaime Matheson said: ‘An employee of the company would not be let go because they provide this lunch to a student. We can’t get into specifics because personnel decisions are confidential to honor privacy, however employees receive and sign their acknowledgment to company policies. When these aren’t followed, corrective action is put in place, up to and including termination. We’re all proud of our ability to provide meals to those in need.’
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