"I had a first-grader in front of me, crying, because she doesn't have enough money for lunch," Curry said

June 03, 2015 10:20 AM

http://CBSDEN.images.worldnow.com/interface/js/WNVideo.js?rnd=665174;hostDomain=video.denver.cbslocal.com;playerWidth=620;playerHeight=349;isShowIcon=true;clipId=11557134;flvUri=;partnerclipid=;adTag=News;advertisingZone=CBS.DENVER%252Fworldnowplayer;enableAds=true;landingPage=;islandingPageoverride=false;playerType=STANDARD_EMBEDDEDscript;controlsType=overlayDella Curry is a married mother of two who, until recently, was the kitchen manager at Dakota Valley Elementary School in Aurora, Colorado.

On Friday, she was fired for giving school lunches to students who didn’t have enough money to buy one.

“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 local CBS Denver.

In Cherry Creek School District (which Dakota Valley is a part of), students who do not quality for the school’s free or reduced lunch program are given a slice of cheese on a hamburger bun and a small milk. A family of four needs to have a household income of less than $31,000 for the school’s free lunch program and $45,000 for the reduced program.

Curry says the students she provided with food were “kids whose parents make too much money to qualify, but a lot of times they don’t have enough money to eat,” she said.

“I’ll own that I broke the law,” she said. “The law needs to change. If me getting fired for it is one way that we can try to change this, I’ll take it in a heartbeat.”

Cherry Creek School District said it does not comment on personnel issues, but it released the following statement regarding the controversy:

“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 covered by the prices we charge.”

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