“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.
Curry doesn’t deny she broke the law by feeding the children something other than the designated meal for low-income families, which consists of one slice of cheese on a hamburger bun, and a small milk. Still, she isn’t sorry for what she did. “The law needs to change,” she said.
In the Cherry Creek School District, students whose families make $31,000 annually qualify for a free lunch, but families that make less than $45,000 qualify for a reduced lunch. Though those numbers fluctuate depending on the size of the household, Curry said there’s a problem with that system.
“Kids whose parents make too much money to qualify, but a lot of times they don’t have enough money to eat,” she said.
The students she was fired for helping didn’t qualify for either program. It wasn’t the first time Curry helped a student in need — she told CBS4 she has paid for lunches before with her own money.
The Cherry Creek School District said it cannot discuss personnel issues, but added, “anyone who has ever been terminated has violated some kind of written policy.”
Darnell Hill’s son goes to Dakota Valley Elementary School and Hill said Curry helped his son when he forgot his lunch money. “Do something different than fire her. She’s trying to help.”
Curry understands why she was fired, but she hopes the school district will make changes. “If me getting fired for it is one way that we can try to change this, I’ll take it in a heartbeat,” she said.