What This Kitchen Manager & Mom of 2 Does When She Sees a Student Crying Ends Up Costing Her Her Job

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Lunch is an essential meal for elementary school students— it re-energizes the kids and enables them to focus for the remainder of the school day.

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But what happens when a hungry student goes through the lunch line but is unable to pay for their meal? For Della Curry of Aurora, Colorado, the answer was clear.

Knowing full and well that the school’s policy was to never give out free food, she gave a free lunch to a first grader that was in hysterics because she was hungry. The mom of two explained to the Denver Post:

“It is policy to never give out free food… that is all fine and dandy until you have little kids not on the free and reduced program and their account goes negative.”

Unfortunately, Curry’s decision resulted in her being fired from her position as Kitchen Manager at Dakota Valley Elementary School.

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According to KCNC, federal law stipulates that when a student who does not qualify for free or reduced lunch forgets their lunch or is unable to pay for lunch, they be provided with a hamburger bun and cheese sandwich with a small milk.

In order to qualify for free lunches, federal guidelines require that the parents of a family of four make below $31,005. Children of parents in a family of four that make below $44,123 qualify for reduced lunches, according to the Department of Agriculture.

So often times, students whose parents’ income is slightly above the federal guidelines fall short of receiving the meal they need and deserve.

And as Curry points out, a hamburger bun with one slice of cheese is simply not enough to sustain a growing child.

The Cherry Creek School District contends that it is never their policy to let a child go hungry. In a statement they wrote:

“According to our practice, we provide hot meals to students the first three times they forget their lunch money and charge their parents’ accounts. The fourth time, we provide a cheese sandwich and milk.”

But for Curry, that isn’t enough— the law needs to be changed. And she is standing by her decision.

“If me getting fired is one way that we can change this, then I’ll take it in a heartbeat.”

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