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She Was Fired for Feeding a Student. Now, a New Offer

But New Hampshire's Bonnie Kimball simply isn't interested in getting her job back
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted May 18, 2019 5:30 AM CDT
In this undated file photo, a student eats lunch at William Allen School in Rochester, NH.   (John Huff/Portsmouth Herald via AP, File)

(Newser) – A company has offered to rehire a New Hampshire school cafeteria worker it fired for giving a student lunch for free, but she isn't interested. Bonnie Kimball said she was terminated March 28 by Fresh Picks, a vendor that supplies food to the Mascoma Valley Regional High School in Canaan, per the AP. It came a day after she gave a student lunch, even though he couldn't pay for it. Kimball says that when the student's account showed no funds, she quietly told him, "Tell [your] mom you need money," and provided a lunch. She said a manager just asked what was on the boy's plate and walked away. The next morning the student's bill was paid. "His family is very well known in this town and I can guarantee that if I called his mother, she would have come right in and paid the bill. But I didn't want to get her out of work," Kimball says.

The company, however, said it had offered to rehire the employee and provide her back pay and would "work with the school district to revise policies and procedures regarding transactions." Kimball said she had no intention of returning to her old job and accused the company of only offering to rehire her "so that it could keep its contract." The Mascoma Valley Regional School Board voted Tuesday to continue using the company for another year. "When I walked out of the school the day that I got fired, all that was going through my head was that I wouldn't be able to show my face again. People would think I was a thief," she said, adding the support since then "makes me feel good." The school district, in a statement, said it talked with the company about the firing of what it described as a part-time cafeteria worker and would review its food service policies to ensure conflicts between the district and its vendors don't come up in the future. (Read more New Hampshire stories.)

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