Idaho school worker fired for giving child lunch offered job back
An Idaho school cafeteria worker who was fired days before Christmas for giving at least one hungry middle school student a free lunch worth $1.70 was offered her job back after public outcry over her dismissal, the Idaho State Journal reported on Thursday.
Dalene Bowden, who described her job as "lunch lady", was fired from Irving Middle School in Pocatello after she gave a 12-year-old girl a hot meal when the child said she had no money to pay for it, according to Bowden's GoFundMe Internet page where she is raising money for a legal fight.
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"I got fired for having a heart, please help me fight back," Bowden wrote on the page, adding that she was a breast cancer survivor.
Bowden and school officials could not immediately be reached for comment. Pocatello, some 200 miles (322 km) southeast of Boise, has about 50,000 residents.
The Internet has rallied to Bowden's defense, and she has raised more than $18,000. Many people expressed outrage at her firing, and city officials said some even sent death threats to the school district.
The superintendent of Pocatello/Chubbuck School District 25, Doug Howell, issued a statement that said, "In the spirit of the holidays, the district has been in communication with Ms. Bowden extending an opportunity for her to return to employment with the district," the Idaho State Journal reported.
The offer to re-hire Bowden followed a petition on her behalf on Care2 Petitions website that collected more than 85,000 signatures. One Facebook user wrote on the page, "This is so sad when every day food has been thrown out by tons."
Facebook users by the hundreds expressed outrage in response to a post this past weekend on the website that included a photo of the termination letter.
The letter stated that Bowden had been fired for "stealing school district or another's property and inaccurate transactions when ordering, receiving and serving food."
The newspaper reported that Bowden said she offered to pay for the lunch, but instead she was placed on "termination leave" by her supervisor until the school board met to discuss her case. The lunch was worth $1.70, according to the newspaper report.
The city said on its Twitter page that Pocatello's mayor met with the school superintendent on Wednesday and applauded the district's offer to rehire Bowden.
Bowden told the newspaper late on Wednesday that she would have to think about whether to accept the reinstatement offer.
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