Pocatello school fires lunch lady for free lunch

Posted at 8:33 PM, Dec 23, 2015
and last updated 2015-12-23 22:33:54-05

Dalene Bowden says she gave the meal to a middle school student who said she didn't have any money.

"My heart hurts. I truly loved my job, and I can't say that I wouldn't do it again," said Bowden.

It's been a week since Bowden lost her job at Irving Middle School.

“What do you do? Send them out there, so they can get it taken away and thrown away? No," she said.

Last Tuesday, Bowden was working as a server when a 12-year-old girl told her she didn't have any lunch money and was hungry.

"So, I handed her the food and said, 'Here. We'll take care of it in a minute,'" she said.

Bowden's supervisor saw what happened and reported her.

"He said I was on permanent leave until he called me. I should not call them. He will call me. And they never called me. I got the letter," Bowden said.

The letter was signed and written by the school district director of human resources. In that letter, Bowden was terminated for "theft."

Bowden told a local newspaper she offered to pay for the $1.70 meal, but her supervisor rejected the offer.

Through social media, she has rallied quite a number of supporters. She has also hired an attorney.

The school district could not be reached for comment.

There is a petition that has been getting signatures ... you can find that HERE