School Faces Internet Backlash After Firing Lunch Lady For Giving Lunch To Hungry Student

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After Dalene Bowden, a food service worker at Irving Middle School in Idaho, gave a free hot lunch to a 12-year-old girl who said she was hungry and didn’t have any money, she was fired even though she offered to pay for the meal.

The one-page letter was signed by District 25 Director of Human Resources Susan Petit and states that Bowden was dismissed due to her theft of school district property and inaccurate transactions when ordering, receiving and serving food, according to the Idaho Statesman.

Bowden gave the hungry child a meal worth $1.70 which Bowden offered to pay for but her supervisor rejected her offer and instead, terminated her employment at the school.

An online petition was launched Saturday demanding that Bowden be reinstated at her job. As of now, the petition has garnered 41,180 signatures and that number is increasing rapidly every time the page is refreshed.

The petition states, in part:

Per policy of the school district, if a child’s balance exceeds the $11.00 overdraft limit, the lunch is taken away and thrown out in front of the child and his/her peers, humiliating the child and making it hard on the kitchen aids to follow this policy. Who would want to deny a child food (perhaps that child’s only meal)?

However, the petition also states that the child did not exceed the $11.00 limit.

In addition, a Facebook page was created titled, “Give Dalene Bowden her job back” which already has 3,774 ‘likes’.

Twitter users are defending Bowden, too. Tweets are pouring in to support her.

District School Board member Jacob Gertsch declined to comment on Bowden’s termination Monday, calling it a personnel matter, however, we do not understand how this is of a personal nature. .

“This is just breaking my heart,” Bowden said. “And they couldn’t even bother to put my check in with the letter.”

Raushelle Goodin-Guzman, who created the petition, said she doesn’t know Bowden, but she has two children who attend schools in the district.

“I think (Bowden) did the right thing and I think we need to make sure that every child that wants lunch can have lunch,” Guzman said. “I think the district’s policy needs to be changed. We do not need to humiliate or demean any child or worker in that situation. Students must be provided with an adequate meal.”

The Idaho Statesman reports:

Bowden has worked for District 25 for the past three years and said she’s never been written up or reprimanded for her job performance. But she said she did receive a verbal warning once for giving a student a free cookie.

She plans to seek legal counsel regarding the termination letter accusing her of theft.

“I broke the rules, but I offered to pay for the meal and I don’t think I deserved to lose my job over it,” Bowden said.

“I know I screwed up, but what are you supposed to do when the kid tells you that they’re hungry and they don’t have any money,” Bowden added.

“I love my job, I really do,” Bowden told the Statesman. “This just breaks my heart, and I was in the wrong, but what do you do when the kid tells you that they’re hungry, and they don’t have any money? I handed her the tray.”

“She came to me, she said she was hungry and she didn’t have any money,” Bowden said. “I would do it again in the same situation.”

It’s Christmastime and a woman has been fired for feeding a hungry child.

Karma is a thing: the school is suddenly receiving bad reviews.

Please sign the petition here.

And/or, call the school and tell them hello. (208) 232-3039.