School lunches may not seem like much, but they cost money — and they’re sometimes all kids have.
Dalene Bowden is a former cafeteria worker with the Pocatello/Chubbuck School District of Pocatello, Idaho. She was recently fired after giving lunch to a hungry student, according to The Idaho State Journal.
Bowden, who’s worked for the school district for the past three years, said that a 12-year-old student approached her and revealed that she had no money for food. Bowden first offered to pay for the $1.70 for the price of the meal, but her supervisor refused. Bowden then gave the student a free lunch.
On Dec. 15, Bowden was reportedly placed on termination leave. Soon after, she received a one-page letter from District 25 Director of Human Resources Susan Petit, informing her of her firing.
Bowden’s case then attracted significant social media attention. A petition to reinstate her, started by Raushelle Guzman of Pocatello, has already attracted over 53,000 signatures.
“I think (Bowden) did the right thing and I think we need to make sure that every child that wants lunch can have lunch … We do not need to humiliate or demean any child or worker in that situation. Students must be provided with an adequate meal,” Guzman told The Idaho Journal.
“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,” Bowden wrote on her fundraising page, which aims “to raise enough funds to get lawyer to change the law.”
Mashable has reached out to the Chubbuck School District of Pocatello for comment.