Pocatello lunch lady Dalene Bowden said Monday that she will not meet with the Pocatello Chubbuck School District to discuss resuming her job until after the holiday break.
Bowden was fired earlier this month for giving a $1.70 lunch to a hungry student. District 25 officials then offered her job back last after tens of thousands of petitioners demanded that she be rehired.
The story went viral after it appeared in the Journal earlier this month. It was picked up by national and international news agencies, and was the No. 1 trending story on Facebook recently.
An online effort collected more than 65,000 signatures demanding that Bowden be rehired before the district offered to hire her back. And a GoFundMe site launched by Bowden’s niece garnered more than $19,000 to support her cause. On Christmas Eve, Dwayne Clark — founder and CEO of assisted living company Aegis Living, which operates in Washington, California and Nevada — contacted Bowden and gave her $15,000.
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Interim Superintendent Doug Howell announced last week that “in the spirit of the holiday,” the district was offering Bowden her job back.
But Bowden fears the potential for retaliation by the district over the matter, she said.
Bowden plans to address her concerns with district officials before deciding if she’ll return to her position as a lunch lady at Irving Middle School.