Aurora, CO — A Colorado woman, Della Curry, who worked as an elementary school kitchen manager was fired from her job at Dakota Valley Elementary School in Aurora, Colorado. The reason she was fired? — For the illegal, but selfless act of buying hungry kids lunch when they couldn’t afford it.
“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 told CBS 4. “I’ll own that I broke the law. The law needs to be changed.”
After the report aired, the district gave a statement saying that kids who forget their lunch or cannot pay for it are given a cheese or if available turkey sandwich.
But Curry contends that this is not enough.
According to the Cherry Creek School District’s website, the school will provide a meal for students that forget or don’t have the necessary funds, with a charge being added onto their parents account.
“The district has worked to keep lunch prices low and still meet the federal nutrition requirements. The costs of our lunch program are not covered by the prices we charge. At the end of the year, any unpaid accounts are covered by the general fund which also includes instruction, security, building maintenance and overall operations,” a statement on the district’s website read.
“Again, no child is ever denied a meal due to the inability to pay,” the school district reiterated.
While this may be technically true, children shouldn’t be made to feel excluded and separate from the rest of their classmates, simply due to a parental lack of resources or forgetfulness. A child’s physical and emotional health should certainly take precedence over some rigid district policy.
“It is policy to never give out free food … that is all fine and dandy until you have little kids, not on the free and reduced program and their account goes negative,” Curry told the Denver Post.
While Curry admits that she paid for 20 meals for students, technically breaking the law, she offers no apologies for her actions, stating that she would do it again and that the law needs to be changed.
One of the parents whose child’s lunch was paid for by Curry, Darnell Hill, has said that the school is in the wrong and should “do something different than fire her.”
Is this how we treat those that look out for the most helpless amongst us?
This woman should be commended for willing to risk her job to ensure that those children got a full meal and didn’t feel ostracized. Rather than being fired Curry is deserving of a promotion!
Jay Syrmopoulos is an investigative journalist, freethinker, researcher, and ardent opponent of authoritarianism. He is currently a graduate student at University of Denver pursuing a masters in Global Affairs. Jay’s work has previously been published on BenSwann.com and WeAreChange.org. You can follow him on Twitter @sirmetropolis, on Facebook at Sir Metropolis and now on tsu.