ENFIELD — The parents of the Mascoma Valley Regional High School student who got free food from fired lunch lady Bonnie Kimball say Kimball sent their son Facebook messages to help her cover up the food giveaway.
“I feel like this whole thing has just gotten out of control,” the boy’s mother said.
The Union Leader is not naming the mother or the boy at the family's request, as they are concerned for their privacy.
Kimball was fired after she said she gave the 17-year-old boy $8 worth of free food when he couldn’t pay. That story has begun to unravel as the food vendor for Mascoma Valley, Cafe Services, is accusing Kimball of having given away food for months and lying about it.
Mascoma Valley Superintendent Amanda Isabelle released a statement late Tuesday in which she reconsidered her earlier call for Kimball to get her job back after speaking to the mother and finding out about the Facebook messages.
“(I)n light of information recently brought forward by a parent, the school district is rescinding its demand that the employee be rehired,” Isabelle said.
On Tuesday, the boy’s mother shared Facebook messages with the Union Leader between Kimball and the boy showing she told him on March 28 to pay the $8 tab because the same manager who watched her give him the food would be there the next day. She also wanted the boy to add $20 to his account because the manager would be watching her ring him through the next day.
“We will prolly get written up, but we can make it look good. Lol,” Kimball wrote to the boy.
“What kind of an adult says that to a child?” the mother said.
Kimball denied she was trying to get the boy to cover up the free food.
The mother said if the boy owed money, someone from Cafe Services should have contacted her or her husband, not the boy.
Cafe Services president Brian Stone said this week that Kimball had been giving the boy food for months without charging his account. When she gave the food away on March 28, Kimball told the manager that she charged it to his account, which was not true, Stone said. Kimball told the Union Leader on Monday she allowed the boy to charge to other student accounts, like his friend or girlfriend, because he was a popular “jock.”
The mother said her son is not a poor child going hungry, but a 17-year-old who is supposed to pack a lunch for school.
“I have three children, and they are all well-cared for and well-fed,” the mother said. “She did not get fired for feeding a hungry child.”
Kimball gave the boy sport drinks, cookies, and french fries on March 28, all extra a la carte items that are not part of any free lunch program offered by Cafe Services or the school. Since Kimball has left the school, the boy pays for food regularly, Stone stated.
“My child is paying when he goes through the lunch line, every time he goes through the lunch line,” the mother said.
The Facebook messages continued after Kimball was fired, with Kimball telling the boy on March 29 she was fired for giving him the food. Last week, she contacted the boy asking him to round up classmates to contact a reporter who was writing about the situation.
The boy’s mother does not understand why Kimball was giving her son free food.
“We have nothing to do with her outside of the school system,” she said.
Isabelle is pledging an investigation into the situation to get to the bottom of the matter.
“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. “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.”
In her most recent message, Kimball told the boy she was heading to New York to appear on a television program and meet “famous football players.” At least one Go Fund Me campaign has raised several thousand dollars for Kimball since her story became a media sensation.