School cafeteria worker fired for helping needy student

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A cafeteria worker was fired for giving lunches to a fourth-grader who had no money.

Dianne Brame was cafeteria manager for two years at Hudson Elementary in Webster Groves, Missouri.  When an apparent language barrier kept a student from reapplying for the free lunch program, Brame says she tried to help.

KTVI reports she first let the boy “charge” lunches, and she later let him pass through the line without paying or charging the lunch.  

“I let his account get over $45 which I’m only supposed to let it get over $10, and I started letting him come through my lunch line without putting his number in, and they look at that as stealing. I thought it was just taking care of a kid,” Brame said.

She said she was also trying to protect the boy from bullying, which sometimes happens when kids without lunch money get the default cheese sandwich for lunch.

Her supervisor said it was stealing, and gave her the choice to be fired or be demoted and work at another school.

Brame said her husband died in February and she didn’t have a car.  Working at Hudson allowed her to walk to work every day.  She said she had no choice but to accept being fired – two weeks before Christmas.

Brame says she knows she violated protocol so she won’t appeal the decision to fire her.

She also says she wouldn’t change what she did, saying “I don’t think any kid should be hungry. I don’t. And it’s my belief that some of these kids who go to school and get meals, that may be the only meal they eat that day.”

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