Della Curry said it was an easy decision.
The school kitchen manager at Dakota Valley Elementary School in Aurora, Colorado said she had a first grade student come through her line crying because she didn’t have enough money for her food. The district has a policy that students who don’t have enough money for lunch and don’t qualify for the free or reduced lunch program get only one slice of cheese on a hamburger bun with a small milk.
Curry said she didn’t believe that was a sufficient meal so she gave the student a lunch for free — and then was fired for it.The former kitchen manager said she doesn’t regret her decision.
“I’ll own that I broke the law. The law needs to change,” she said.
Curry added that the free and reduced lunch program leaves out a lot of students who are still in need of help.
“Kids whose parents make too much money to qualify, but a lot of times they don’t have enough money to eat,” she said.
Though the district did not specifically address Curry’s firing, it did defend the lunch policy.
“The law does not require the school district to provide the meal to children who have forgotten their lunch money, that is a district decision. According to our practice, we provide hot meals to students the first three times they forget their lunch money and charge their parents’ accounts. The fourth time, we provide a cheese sandwich and milk.”
“The district has worked to keep lunch prices low and still meet the federal nutrition requirements. The costs of our lunch program are not covered by the prices we charge. At the end of the year, any unpaid accounts revert back to the general fund which also covers instruction, security, building maintenance and overall operations.”
This is not the only controversial school lunch story making headlines. Last year, a Michigan mom paid for all unpaid lunch accounts at her student’s high school after an embarrassing lunch room incident. Dominic Gant, a junior at Dowagiac Union High School, had his lunch taken away by a school employee because he owed $5.
“I was appalled that he was denied lunch and his lunch was taken out of his hands over $5,” said Amanda Keown, who works two jobs to support her family.
Della Curry said she hopes to help change her district’s policy and plans to ask the school board about making changes to the lunch policy.
[Image via CBS]