CANAAN, N.H. - A New Hampshire school cafeteria worker, who said she was fired for giving a student food even though he couldn't pay immediately, refused an offer to get her job back.
Update 4:15 a.m. EDT May 18: Bonnie Kimball said she has refused an offer from school officials and a food service company to get her school cafeteria job back at Mascoma Valley Regional High School in Canaan, New Hampshire.
"They're not doing it for me, they are doing it to save face," Kimball told CNN.
KImball said she was fired in April for giving a student food even though he could not pay for it. The food vendor, Cafe Services, has since offered to rehire Kimball, according to People magazine.
Update 9:45 p.m. EDT May 17: School cafeteria worker Bonnie Kimball has apparently been offered her job back at Mascoma Valley Regional High School in Canaan, New Hampshire, according to news reports.
A vendor that supplies food to the high school, Cafe Services, offered to rehire Kimball, People magazine reported.
“We are going to offer to rehire our recently terminated employee and provide her back pay and we will work with the school district to revise policies and procedures regarding transactions,” the company told People. “We will then work with our manager on those policies.”
School Cafeteria Worker Gets Job Back Amid Outrage She Was Fired for Giving Student Free Food https://t.co/pZ5ckGYxZ5— People (@people) May 17, 2019
Kimball said she was fired in early April after giving a student $8 worth of food when he couldn’t pay. In an interview on CNN, Kimball said she had known the boy’s parents since they were children and knew they would pay the lunch tab, which they did.
It’s unclear if Kimball plans to accept the offer to return to the school.
Original report: A New Hampshire school cafeteria worker says she was fired for giving a student food even though he couldn't immediately pay.
Students and staff are rallying behind a Mascoma Valley Regional High School lunch lady fired for allowing a boy to run up an $8 lunch debt rather than go hungy. Bonnie Kimball thought she was doing the right thing and the parent did eventually pay. https://t.co/y65rc8oGjX pic.twitter.com/eds9teHG2m— UnionLeader.com (@UnionLeader) May 15, 2019
According to the New Hampshire Union Leader, former Cafe Services employee Bonnie Kimball, who worked in the Mascoma Valley Regional High School lunchroom, said she let the boy take $8 worth of food on March 28 as a district manager looked on.
"I quietly said, 'Tell (your) mom you need money,'" Kimball told the Valley News.
The boy paid the tab March 29, the same day Kimball was fired. In a letter dated April 9, the food vendor said the district manager saw Kimball violate the company's "cash handling procedures, the school's charge policy and federal regulation governing free meals," the Valley News reported.
The incident came as Cafe Services was vying to have its contract renewed with the school district, the Union Leader reported.
Kimball, who worked for the company for five years, told the Valley News that she had been following her direct supervisor's instructions to avoid causing "any scenes with the contract." Her boss told her earlier this year to give food to students who couldn't pay and let them know they needed more money on their accounts, she said.
"We weren't supposed to pull trays," Kimball told the Union Leader.
The Mascoma Valley Regional School Board voted Tuesday to continue Cafe Services' contract.
School Board Chairman Cookie Hebert said the district's policy is that students be fed even if they can't pay; however, they are supposed to get "the lunch of the day," not "a la carte" dishes, the Union Leader reported. The student in Kimball's case had taken the latter.
Two of Kimball's former co-workers resigned in protest, she said.