Lunch Lady Fired For Feeding Student Without Any Money
Bonnie Kimball served students at Mascoma Valley Regional High School in Canaan, New Hampshire for five years. But according to the New Hampshire Union Leader, she was fired by the school’s food vendor, Cafe Services, after she allowed a student to have his $8 lunch after it was discovered that he had no money in his account.
The school’s contract with Cafe Services is set to expire, so another vendor, The Abbey Group, was at Mascoma High to observe kitchen operations. Cafe Services sent a district manager to the school to observe who, at one point, was watching Kimball run the register.
“When I rang him up, the student didn’t have any money on their account,” Kimball explained to Valley News. “So, I have a district manager here. My boss has told me, ‘Don’t cause any scenes with the contract,’ and I quietly said, ‘Tell [your] mom you need money.'”
The student said that he would and his parents paid his outstanding bill the very next day. But that’s the same day Kimball was notified of her termination. “It was my life for five years. I went and I took care of another family,” she said. “You don’t just lose a family member, be OK and move on.”
While the district’s policy is for a student to be fed even if they do not pay, according to school board chairman Cookie Hebert, they are supposed to receive the “lunch of the day,” not “a la carte” dishes.
A lot of people in her community are standing up for Kimball amidst her firing, with two of her coworkers quitting in protest. Another community member wrote a letter to the editor outlining what all the “kitchen ladies” have done for the students while many others responded to the news with outrage on social media.
The school district stood behind Kimball, too–she herself said she does not blame the district and says that she has received many encouraging words from officials.
Unfortunately, Cafe Services’ decision to terminate Kimball’s employment did not sway the School Board’s vote on Tuesday. The board voted to continue using Cafe Services for another year, which still leaves Bonnie Kimball out of a job.