New Hampshire

Fired Lunch Lady Accused of Trying to Cover Up Situation, School Rescinds Rehiring Demand

The school lunchroom employee fired for providing a free lunch to a student reportedly sent the boy messages on Facebook asking him to help her cover up her actions.

The Union Leader reports the parents of the 17-year-old boy who received the free lunch said Bonnie Kimball, a former cafeteria worker at Mascoma Valley Regional High School in Canaan, sent their son Facebook messages on March 28, the day of the incident. She allegedly told him to pay his $8 tab since the manager who saw her give him the food would be there the following day.

"We will prolly get written up, but we can make it look good. Lol," Kimball wrote.

She went on to tell the student she was fired.

"I am on World News right now flying to New York to meet some famous football players," Kimball also wrote in reference to her newfound fame.

Kimball did not want to comment to NBC10 Boston on the Facebook messages Wednesday other than to say, "They might be about something else."

She added that she is hiring an attorney.

Kimball has said previously that she did nothing wrong and that "letting that kid go hungry because he didn't bring any money that day, that would have been wrong." However, the Union Leader said she gave the teen cookies, sport drinks and french fries, which are extra and not a part of the free lunch program.

Immediately after her firing, the Mascoma Valley School District demanded that Kimball ge given her job back. But School Superintendent Amanda Isabelle said in a statement Tuesday that the district has rescinded its demand given the new information from the boy's mother.

"We have been overwhelmed by a crush of national and international media interest in this incident, but I do not believe we have yet seen a full and complete retelling of the facts," Isabelle said in a statement. "Therefore, we will compile a thorough report on this investigation, and we will make the findings of the independent investigator public. The public, especially our 1,200 families and the thousands of citizens of the communities we serve, deserve nothing less."

Kimball's firing sparked national headlines as she and her former employer Cafe Services fired back at each other. Celebrity chef José Andrés, who is known for providing free meals to survivors of natural disasters, tweeted out Kimball's story Friday and encouraged her to apply for a position at his company.

In a statement posted to YouTube on Monday, an official with Cafe Services called Kimball "dishonest" and said the student in question hadn't been charged for anything for the previous three months.

In a phone interview Monday, Kimball said she was shocked when she saw the YouTube video.

"I was like, 'Wow, I can't believe it.' There could be backlash out of this that's gonna be worse for them," she told NBC10 Boston. "It's a big mess. That's what it is, a big mess."

About 364 out of the nearly 1,000 students enrolled in the school district, or 36%, receive free or reduced fee lunch, according to the New Hampshire Department of Education. Isabelle said the district "does not refuse food to hungry children who cannot afford to pay." She noted in her statement that the free lunch policy is limited to "meals, milk, fruits and vegetables," but that other items such as "ice cream bars and sports drinks" are not provided for free. 

Contact Us