Elementary school kitchen manager fired for giving students without money free lunch

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AURORA, Colo. — A married mother of two was fired from her job as the kitchen manager at an elementary school in Colorado for giving lunches to students who didn’t have money, CBS Denver reports.

Della Curry was the manager at Dakota Valley Elementary School near Aurora. She told CBS Denver that she would see students — who often times weren’t signed up for free lunch programs — crying because of hunger and no lunch money.

“I had a first grader in front of me, crying because she doesn’t have enough money for lunch,” Curry told CBS. “Yes, I gave her lunch.”

Typically, students who don’t have lunch and don’t qualify for free or reduced lunch receive one slice of cheese on a hamburger bun, and a small milk. Believing that meal not sufficient, Curry often bought the students lunch with money from her own pocket, she said.

To qualify for free lunch, a family of four needs to have an income of around $31,000. Curry said many students she helped did not qualify for that program. Parents stepped up in Curry’s defense, saying she often helped when students forget their lunch money.

The school district claims it followed policy in firing her. Anyone who has ever been terminated — like Curry — directly violated policy, the district said.