When children couldn't afford lunch, Mrs. Curry purchased food for them out of her own pocket. But such behavior cost her job. Is that justice?
Did you know? Over half of all children in the United States presently live at or below the poverty line. For this reason, many are dependent upon school lunch aid in order to receive a minimum of one to two meals per day.
But even though some students’ parents make above $45,000/year, the minimum requirement for federal lunch aid, their families still might struggle being able to afford enough food.
This is what Della Curry often witnessed as former kitchen manager at the Dakota Valley Elementary School in Aurora, Colorado. Although the Cherry Creek district boasts a statistic of only 29% of their students needing lunch aid, Mrs. Curry was often confronted with students not being able to afford their noon-time meal.
For this reason, she began to purchase meals for students out of her own pocket. But such behavior ended up costing the Della her job.
However, in an interview with CBS, Mrs. Curry stated she would do it again – regardless of the consequences.
“I had a first grader in front of me, crying, because she doesn’t have enough money for lunch. Yes, I gave her lunch,” Curry said.
In the Cherry Creek School District, students who fail to qualify for the free lunch or reduced lunch program receive one slice of cheese on a hamburger bun, and a small milk. But Della believes this is hardly enough for a growing child.
“I’ll own that I broke the law. The law needs to change,” she said.
Following is the Cherry Creek School District policy:
“The law does not require the school district to provide the meal to children who have forgotten their lunch money, that is a district decision. 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.
The district has worked to keep lunch prices low and still meet the federal nutrition requirements. The costs of our lunch program are not yet covered by the prices we charge. At the end of the year, any unpaid accounts revert back to the general fund which also covers instruction, security, building maintenance, and overall operations.”
You can watch the CBS segment above, and/or learn more at KOS.
Do you think Della Curry deserved to be fired for feeding hungry students? What could be a potential solution for this problem? Share your thoughts below.