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Lunch lady who says free meal led to firing offered job back

The cost of the hot lunch was only $1.70.

DALENE Bowden thought she was doing the right thing when a hungry student told her they couldn’t afford lunch. Bowden fixed the 12-year-old a tray, but when her supervisor saw what happened, Bowden was reported and sent home. She was placed on termination leave last Tuesday pending a meeting with the District 25 School Board.

The letter, written and signed by School District 25’s director of human resources, said Bowden was being terminated for “theft“. Bowden’s story was picked up by the Daily Mail in the United Kingdom, Fox News, NBC News, Inside Edition and TV stations across the United States.

Bowden feels, understandably, that even though her actions were outside of her employer’s guidelines, she shouldn’t have been fired.

“They’re hungry, what do you do?” she asked.

Bowden and school officials could not immediately be reached for comment. But Bowden later admitted to the Idaho Statesman that she hadn’t personally heard from district officials, and that she’s anxious about her reinstatement.

The city said on its Twitter page that Pocatello’s mayor met with the school superintendent on Wednesday and applauded the district’s offer to rehire Bowden. School spokesperson Shelley Allen told the Journal that when students exceed the $11, they’re still given a small meal-like a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. On Wednesday, after significant backlash against the school, she was offered her job back.

In the meantime, Bowden’s firing has outraged the community where she worked.

Raushelle Guzman, a parent of two children who attend schools within the district, told State Journal that while she does not know Bowden, she started a petition to get the lunch lady reinstated. I think the district’s policy needs to be changed. “The District works daily to help children who are hungry, who need healthcare, who are homeless and who are neglected and/or abused”. As a matter of fact, National Education Association has found out that missing meals affect a student’s performance and behavior in school.

Do you think this school cafeteria worker deserved to be fired for providing a free, hot meal to a student in need?

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