Ohio lunch lady Debbie Solsman, a 14-year employee, told reporters that when students were unable to pay for lunch she would cover the cost out of her own pocket. And if she wasn’t able to pay for it that day, she would write herself an IOU so she could pay it off with her next school paycheck.
Apparently, her employers weren’t all that moved by the gesture. Solsman was fired from her job at Denver Place Elementary school in Wilmington after school officials learned she was buying hungry children lunch and violating policy in the process.
She said to local news that, “I sometimes would buy [hungry students] an extra slice of pizza…(after feeling) them out (and asking) them what they had for supper the night before. Sometimes they would tell me nothing.”
After 14 years of her service, the city school district decided to terminate Solsman’s employment for “Failure to account for food sales at (her) cashier job in the cafeteria and providing food without payment to (her) grandchildren,” Fox 19 reported.
In the district’s defense, they said that, children are provided with a free breakfast daily and they receive three lunch credits if they don’t have money to purchase a regular meal. If they can’t pay off the debt and are in need of a meal, the school will provide them with a cheese sandwich at lunch instead of a main entree. The main entrees, according to the school website vary by day. The options include items like chicken fingers, pizza and the daily selection of grilled cheese with veggies.
Solsman admits that her decision to give free meals to students and her grandchildren is against the rules, but nevertheless felt like she had no other choice but to help them. As a cafeteria employee, she explained how difficult it was to watch students feel embarrassed about only having a cheese sandwich to eat or having hungry students feel uncomfortable for wanting more food.
She shared with local news that she misses her kids terribly and she truly loves them.
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