May 19 (UPI) — A New Hampshire lunch lady fired in March for feeding a student who did not have money to pay has been offered her job back, but she hasn’t accepted the offer.
Mascoma Valley Regional School District Superintendent Amanda Isabelle said in a statement Friday that the vendor, Cafe Services, could lose its contract with the district if it did not rehire her and the vendor agreed to do so, with back pay for time she missed.
Local media has identified the lunch lady as Bonnie Kimball.
The district entered into a new $500,000 contact with the vendor this week, local media reported.
A termination letter provided to ABC News shows that the food services company, Fresh Picks, the school division of Cafe Services, fired Kimball for allowing a student on March 28 to get $8 in a la carte food items without pay. The student promised to bring in the money the next day and did.
Kimball, who has worked nearly five years for Fresh Picks, has said the way she was fired was “unprofessional,” accusing her of “theft,” and she has refused to go back, suggesting that the effort to rehire her was sparked by the media backlash.
“They all just want me to get the press off their backs,” Kimball said.
Kimball has also said that two other lunchroom employees have also quit to protest her termination.
In response to backlash, Isabelle clarified the school district’s policy on free lunch in her statement.
“The district’s policy regarding free lunches is that students will always be provided with meals, milk, fruits and vegetables,” Isabelle said. “There are, however, items such as ice cream bars, sports drinks and chips that are not provided for free. Those packaged items have a high unit cost to the district and are not viewed as essential nutrition.”
Kimball has set up a GoFundMe Page to help cover her costs after being fired.