Sunday, June 16, 2024

Fired New Hampshire Lunch Lady Accused of Cover-up, School District Rescinds Job Offer

BONNIE KIMBALL

*Mascoma Valley Regional High School in New Hampshire sparked national outrage recently when beloved lunch lady Bonnie Kimball was terminated for letting a student get $8 worth of food for free.

Kimball’s termination letter, obtained by CNN, noted that the March 28 incident of giving a student “multiple food items that you did not charge him for,” was “in strict violation of our Cash Handling Procedures, the Schools Charge Policy and Federal Regulation governing free meals.”

Public outrage put pressure on Kimball’s employer, Cafe Services — a food vendor under contract with school district — so much so that the district demanded the company rehire the cafeteria worker and give her back pay for time lost. But the story has taken a surprising twist after the student’s mother said Kimball tried to cover-up giving the boy free food when he did not have money to pay for lunch.

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The parent reportedly told the New Hampshire Union Leader that Kimball sent her son Facebook messages in March, warning him to pay his lunch tab because her manager saw her give him free food.

“We will prolly get written up, but we can make it look good. Lol,” Kimball allegedly wrote in the message.

After she was fired, Kimball sent the student another message, allegedly asking if he and his classmates could contact a reporter for her to share her sobbing story to.

Meanwhile, the student’s mother insists her son was not a hungry child in need, as he was also supposed to pack his own lunch for school.

“She did not get fired for feeding a hungry child,” the mother told the New Hampshire Union Leader.

In a statement on Tuesday, Mascoma Valley Regional School District superintendent Amanda Isabelle said in light of the mother’s claims “the school district is rescinding its demand that the employee be rehired.”

“The district has commissioned an independent administrative review of all facts and circumstances surrounding this incident, with a report to be furnished to the superintendent, provided to the school board and ultimately released to the public,” the statement added.

“It was clear the employee violated the existing policies of the school and Café Services and we will continue to work with Superintendent Isabelle, the school administration and the auditor on policies to be sure this doesn’t happen again,” he said.

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