Society

School Principal Fired Because She Opposed Stamping Hands of Kids Who Couldn't Afford Lunch

| by Michael Allen

Noelle Roni claims she was fired on Nov. 1, 2013 from the Peak to Peak Charter School in Lafayette, Colo. after she tried to stop school officials from marking the hands of children who could not afford to buy lunch for full price.

In Nov. 2013, the Peak to Peak Charter School told parents in an email that the former principal's firing was not a form of retaliation, but refused to state why Roni was fired, noted The Denver Post.

After she was fired, the community rallied around Roni. Parents started petitions to recall two members of Peak to Peak's Board of Directors.

Roni told The Daily Camera today how the school would stamp children’s hands if they did not have enough money to pay for lunch or if they were eligible for free lunches.

“As soon as I saw it happening, I was like, ‘No, this is not okay,’” stated Roni. “The students felt so humiliated, like they had done something wrong. They didn’t want to go into the lunchroom any more. It’s unethical and disrespectful.”

Roni’s lawyer said that she asked cafeteria workers to stop stamping the hands of the children, but the workers still did it.

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Roni met with school leaders who agreed the stamping should stop, but the food services manager resigned.

Roni's lawyer claims that weeks later Kelly Reeser, Peak to Peak's executive director of education, “demanded” that Roni take responsibility for the food services manager resigning.

When Roni refused, a disciplinary letter citing “unprofessional conduct” was put in her school file, according to Roni's attorneys.

“[Executive Director Kelly Reeser] used this incident and my stance against it as an example of my being unprofessional and insubordinate, which eventually led to me being terminated,” added Roni. “You put kids first. That’s more important than whether I’m going to get along with my co-worker.”

Peak to Peak's Board of Directors denies Roni's firing was retaliation, but still won't give specific reasons for her firing more than two months ago.

Sources: The Denver Post and The Daily Camera